In Growing Marijuana in Colorado – CO Cannabis State Laws (2021) we gave a brief overview on how Colorado residents can apply to their state’s medical marijuana program. Recreational marijuana has been legal in the Centennial State since 2012 but there are certain cases where patients may still want to register for a medical marijuana card.
Overview of Medical Marijuana in Colorado
In November 2000, more than half of Colorado voted in favor of Amendment 20 which legalized the use of medical marijuana in the state. You can read up on the law here: Colorado Constitution Article XVIII
Colorado’s medical marijuana law allows registered patients to possess up to 2 ounces and cultivate up to six plants, only three of which should be mature at a given time. To qualify, a patient must have at least one of the following conditions:
- Any “condition for which a physician can prescribe an opioid”
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Chronic pain
- Chronic nervous system disorders
- HIV or AIDS
- Persistent Muscle Spasms
- Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
If your condition is not listed above, your doctor may still write a recommendation for you. You may also submit a petition for your condition to be added to the list by emailing the Department of Public Health & Environment at “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Even minors afflicted with a condition that need medical marijuana can register for the program, as long as they do so with the help of their parents or legal guardians. However, the requirements are stricter:
- At least two physicians have confirmed your debilitating medical condition and issued you a written documentation legally required by the state of Colorado, and at least one has explained to you and your parents the possible risks and benefits of medical cannabis.
- Written statement from your parents who are residing in Colorado saying that they are allowing you to use medical marijuana.
- Written statement from at least one saying that they agree to be your primary caregiver.
- Your primary caregiver has been approved and has received a medical marijuana registry ID.
A caregiver must be a resident of Colorado at least 18 years old and not the patient’s physician. Under Colorado SB15-014, there are 4 kinds of caregivers:
- Parents of minor patients
- Advising Caregivers
- Transporting Caregivers
- Cultivating Caregivers
Only Transporting and Cultivating caregivers need to register with the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Why should you get a medical marijuana card in Colorado?
Even though recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado and those 21 and older aren’t required to possess, buy, and grow marijuana, there are a few reasons why patients may still want to register into the medical marijuana program, particularly:
- Higher possession, purchase and cultivation limits
- Additional legal protection when possessing more than the recreational limit
- Lower taxes on purchases
- The ability to join a medical marijuana cooperative
- It is the only way for a minor patient to use marijuana
How to get a medical marijuana card in Colorado
You can submit your completed Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry Card application form and requirements online or by US mail. Compared to other states, the cost of a Colorado MMR card is fairly cheap, only $25 and you can even have this waived if your household income is 185% of the Federal Poverty Level or less.
Here are the steps to follow when applying for a medical marijuana card in Colorado.
- Secure the following requirements:
- A valid Colorado ID or driver’s license. Scan a copy of your ID if applying online, do not use a Colorado digital ID from the MyColorado app.
- Your social security number.
- Caregiver’s registration ID if applying with a caregiver.
Parents of minor applicants must also provide the following:
- Certified copy of the minor’s state-issued birth certificate
- Social security numbers of both the parent and the minor
- Proof of secondary parent status:
- Secondary parent’s out of state ID if parent does not live in Colorado.
- Copy of secondary parent’s certified death certificate if parent is deceased.
- Copy of a certified court-issued sole custody order if the secondary parent does not have custody.
- Get a certification from your healthcare provider. Minor patients must get certifications from two separate providers.
- If applying online, create an account on the Colorado Medical Marijuana registration portal. Provide all the required information and requirements and pay the $25 fee using a credit card or e-check. You can also fill out the Adult Patient or Patients Under 18 form and send it with the requirements and a $25 check or money order made out to CDPHE or a certified copy of current Colorado Tax Return and fee waiver. Send your application to:
4300 Cherry Creek Dr. S.
Denver, CO 80246-1530
- Create an account on the Colorado Medical Marijuana registration portal. You can also submit all your requirements here. You may print and fill out the Medical Marijuana Caregiver form and submit it along with other requirements to the CDPHE by US mail.
It will take only 1 to 3 business days for online applications to be approved but 6 to 8 weeks for applications via mail to get approved which is why online applications are highly encouraged. Those who apply online can access a printable copy of their registration card under Tracking Inbox: Patient Registration in their Colorado Medical Marijuana account. However, they will not receive a physical card in the mail. Meanwhile, those who submit their application by mail will receive their card by mail but not online. Both patient and caregiver cards are valid for one year.
Frequently Asked Questions on Getting a Colorado Medical Marijuana Card
Residents of Colorado don’t really need a medical marijuana card to possess, purchase, and grow cannabis. However, being a registered patient in the state’s medical marijuana program is the only way a minor can legally medicate with cannabis. An Medical Marijuana Registry card also provides additional legal protection for patients who may need to possess an amount exceeding the legal limit. Patients also do not need to pay sales tax on medical marijuana.
Patients in Colorado with at least one of the qualifying conditions below are eligible for a medical marijuana card:
Autism spectrum disorder
Chronic nervous system disorders
HIV or AIDS
Persistent Muscle Spasms
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
You may also apply for a medical cannabis card for any “condition for which a physician can prescribe an opioid”
Patients may need to apply for a medical marijuana card in Colorado if they are a minor or have a condition that needs an amount that exceeds the recreational limit. A medical marijuana card also serves as additional legal protection for patients caught in possession of an amount exceeding the legal limit.
If you submit your application for a Colorado medical marijuana card online, it will take only 1 to 3 business days to be approved after which you can immediately print out your card. Those who sent their application by mail will have to wait around 6 to 8 weeks to get their card which will be delivered by mail.
The cost of a medical marijuana card in Colorado is only $25 and this fee can still be waived if your household income is 185% of the Federal Poverty Level or less.
Patients registered in Colorado’s medical marijuana may grow up to six plants, only three of which should be mature at a given time.
Patients registered in Colorado’s medical marijuana program may possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis.
If you’re a patient with a qualifying condition in Colorado, it is definitely worth getting a medical marijuana card since the online application process is easy and the fees are fairly cheap. Aside from providing legal protection for transporting and cultivating caregivers who may need to possess more than the recreational limit, a medical marijuana registration is the only way a minor with a debilitating condition can use medical cannabis.