Obtaining Medical Cards For Minors: Details You Never Thought Of

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Written by Sophia Agwaonye on 01/25/2022.
Data Last Updated: 07/17/2024.

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Cannabis is becoming legalized in many countries around the world, and the cannabis market is expanding and becoming more inclusive. Countries are coming up with laws to back up their legalization, but a question remains: Can minors get a medical cannabis card? Yes, they can, though the process is more complex compared to adults. Adults, whether parents or legal guardians, can acquire medical marijuana cards for minors but there are medical and legal criteria to be fulfilled.  

The medical community has recognized the potential benefits of medical cannabis for various conditions, including those affecting minors. Since medical conditions and illness do not extricate children from terminal illnesses, disorders, cancer, and others, why should they be exempted from a medical card for minors? Patients under 18 with terminal illnesses may get medical cannabis under professional health care.

We will be addressing questions like, “Can you buy weed at 18 with a medical card? At what age can you get a medical card? Can a minor get a medical card?” in this article.

 

Can You Get a Medical Card Under 18?

Can You Get a Medical Card Under 18

Yes, you can get a medical marijuana card if you’re under 18, but there are steps and requirements involved. When it comes to minors, the legal landscape for medical cannabis is more stringent and regulated than for adults. In every state that allows minors to use medical cannabis, parental or guardian consent is mandatory. This means that the parent or guardian must consent to the treatment and be involved in the application process and management of the minor’s medical cannabis use. 

State-specific agencies, like the Department of Health or a dedicated medical cannabis board, oversee the implementation and regulation of medical cannabis programs. These bodies are responsible for issuing the cards and ensuring parents and guardians comply with the legal requirements. 

What Are Some of the Conditions Treated With Medical Cannabis? 

The two active substances in cannabis, Cannabinol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) help treat these conditions affecting minors:

  • Cancer-related symptoms
  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • Chronic pain and inflammatory conditions
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Mental health disorders

It is important to note that the process for obtaining a medical cannabis card for minors is different from that of an adult. While the list of qualifying conditions for minors can be more restrictive, it is more extensive for adults. Minors often require different dosages and administration forms, but that’s not the case for adults. Careful consideration and compliance with state laws are involved in obtaining a medical card for minors. 

The Role of Guardians and Caregivers in Medical Marijuana Cards for Minors 

The Role of Guardians and Caregivers in Medical Marijuana Cards for Minors

Guardians and caregivers are packed with the responsibility of obtaining a medical cannabis card for a minor. Their role is important for a swift process, making sure that the minor receives the treatment safely. Legal responsibilities fall solely on the guardian or caregiver when a minor needs medical cannabis and they must be equipped with the right information. Let’s check out important information to note: 

Legal Responsibilities, Management, and Supervision

Legal responsibilities fall solely on the guardian or caregiver when a minor needs medical cannabis and they must be equipped with the right information. As a guardian or caregiver, you must provide proof, mostly documentation, showing that you’re legally responsible for the minor. 

Your actions must comply with the state and legal laws. Stay abreast about any changes in the laws supporting the legalization of medical cannabis and be compliant at all times. Ensure that you store medical cannabis the right way and keep it out of children’s reach and unauthorized persons. Administer according to instructions given by the healthcare provider. 

Daily management and supervision involves establishing a routine for administering medication, timing, tracking dosages, and fitting it into the minor’s daily schedule without disrupting school or other activities. Supervision also helps prevent overdose of CBD. It is important to note the minor’s response to treatment and any changes and side effects you notice. Contact the healthcare provider if needed and communicate with doctors and specialists for guidance and adjustment of dosages. 

State-by-State Eligibility Criteria

State-by-State Eligibility Criteria

The rules for getting a medical marijuana card for a minor vary based on the state you reside in. Every state in the United States is equipped with the authority to write its rules for the use of medical cannabis, so you must be updated on the rules and laws as they are unique to each state. As of 2023, 38 states legalized medical cannabis but not all permit MMJ for minors. However, states that allow minors to use medical cannabis have sometimes different eligibility criteria. 

California allows minors to get medical cannabis, but with parental consent, while Texas permits MMJ for minors for specific conditions like epilepsy. Being equipped with the state laws on medical marijuana will help you follow the right procedures. 

What Are The Differences in State Regulations?

By now you should know that different states have unique rules about who can get a medical marijuana card and the conditions attached. Check out some major differences:

  • Qualifying Conditions: Every state has a list of conditions that qualify for the use of medical cannabis. Some states allow medical marijuana for only severe conditions like epilepsy or cancer and others have a long list that includes conditions like PTSD and chronic pain. 
  • Age Restrictions: Generally, adults can get an MMJ card with a doctor’s recommendation but those under 18 years often need to meet stricter criteria. Parental consent and, in some cases, a recommendation from a pediatric specialist has to be secured.
  • Parental/Guardian Involvement: States that allow minors to use medical cannabis ensure that a parent or legal guardian must be involved. Parents and legal guardians act as caregivers and are responsible for the administration and storage of medical marijuana.
  • Application process: The steps and paperwork needed to get an MMJ card differ because some states’ application process is done online, while others require that you come in person for more extensive documentation. 

 

States and Their Respective Card Eligibility Criteria

 

State 

Parental/Guardian Consent

Number of Physician Recommendations

Qualifying Conditions

Unique Requirements

California

Required

1

Same as adults

Proof of emancipation; non-emancipated minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian

Connecticut

Required

2

Cerebral palsy, chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, intractable neuropathic pain, irreversible spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, osteogenesis imperfecta, severe epilepsy, terminal illness requiring end-of-life care, tourette syndrome, uncontrolled intractable seizure disorder

Two physicians must confirm the palliative use is in the minor’s best interest; one must be the primary care provider, the other board-certified in the relevant treatment area.

Illinois

Required

2

Same as adults

A health care professional certification and a reviewing health care professional certification are required.

Iowa

Required

1

Same as adults

No patient application needed, a completed separate caregiver registration application

Louisiana

Required

1

Same as TF adults

For minors with ASD, the certifying provider must consult with the patient’s pediatric subspecialist before issuing the recommendation

Maine

Required

1

Same as adults

Treating physician must consult a “consulting physician” unless the minor is registered and eligible for hospice care

Massachusetts

Required

2

Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis (MS), other debilitating conditions as determined in writing by a certified physician

Online pediatric application.

Certification by two Certifying Healthcare Providers. One of them must be a pediatrician or pediatric specialist

Michigan

Required

2

Same as adults

Minor Application Form 

Two physician certification forms signed by different Michigan doctors

Missouri

Required

1

Same as adults

Online Minor Patient Application

A physician or nurse practitioner certificate form is required

Nevada

Required

1

Same as adults

Must send a Minor Application Request Form by mail or email. 

No online registration option

New York

Required

1

Same as adults

The parent/guardian is auto-registered as the caregiver by the certifying provider. The minor must be registered by someone over 18 with a valid DMV ID.

Ohio

Required

1

Same as adults

The legal guardian must serve as a caregiver

Oklahoma

Required

2

Same as adults

Minor Patient License.


Two physician recommendations are required

Pennsylvania

Required

1

Serious medical conditions

Parents, legal guardians, or spouses can register as the caregiver by selecting the caregiver option on the site. Non-relatives should complete the ‘authorization to designate a third-party caregiver’ form

Texas

Required

1

Same as adults

The physician will enter the caregiver’s name and last five digits of their SSN into the CURT

West Virginia

Required

1

Same as adults

The caregiver application can only be completed after the minor patient’s application is approved


Step-by-Step Guide on Getting a Medical Card for Minors

Step-by-Step Guide on Getting a Medical Card for Minors

Parents or caregivers handle the medical cannabis application for under 18 children and the process involves filling out specific forms for minors, caregivers forms, and sometimes even an application to grow cannabis. When applying, you must provide identification and proof of residency for you and your child. Sometimes, certificates of two physicians or the opinion of a pediatric specialist are needed. Follow these step-by-step process for getting an MMJ card for your child: 

  1. Sign up online, and speak with a licensed physician using your smartphone or tablet with a microphone. 
  2. After the consultation and examination, you’ll receive your medical cannabis certificate or recommendation via email. 
  3. Complete your child’s medical marijuana card form and caregiver’s application by registering with the state health department.
  4. Obtain your child’s MMJ card and your caregiver’s card.
  5. Purchase appropriate medication with your caregiver card at a dispensary. Remember that your child may remain outside the dispensary during purchase. 

What Documents Do You Need?

Now that you know the procedure, what identification and documents do you need? The documents needed vary by state but these are the necessary documents you need:

  • Your photo ID; could be a state-issued ID card, driver’s license, or passport.
  • Your child’s birth certificate.
  • Proof of address not exceeding three months. It could be a mortgage agreement, rental, utility bill, or official mail from a state department. 
  • A criminal background check may be required based on state. 
  • Two passport photos of you and your child. 
  • Relevant medical records.

Ensure that you have these documents ready before starting the process of getting MMJ for minors. 

 

Medical Justification for Minor’s Cannabis Use

Medical Justification for Minor’s Cannabis Use

We know that you’ve yet to accept the idea of minors using medical cannabis, but with proper medical justification and documentation, it can be a great treatment option for different conditions. Minors can take medical cannabis in different forms and marijuana edibles are one of the exciting ways minors can consume MMJ. 

When minors need cannabis for medical reasons, there’s a lot of paperwork involved. First, a detailed medical history is needed to show that regular treatments didn’t work or had bad side effects. A licensed healthcare provider must give a clear diagnosis for conditions like epilepsy, autism, cancer, chronic pain, or severe anxiety. 

The doctor also needs to create a detailed treatment plan, explaining how much cannabis to use, in what form, and how the treatment will be monitored. Lastly, parents or guardians must give written consent, showing they understand the risks and benefits and agree to oversee the treatment.

What is a Physician’s Role in the Certification?

The physician will thoroughly evaluate the minor’s health through physical exams and possibly lab tests to ensure that medical cannabis is a safe option. If deemed appropriate, the physician provides a written recommendation, detailing the qualifying condition and the rationale for using medical cannabis. 

The physician then educates the parents or guardians on the potential benefits and risks, how to administer the cannabis, potential side effects, and signs that might indicate the need for treatment adjustments. Finally, ongoing follow-up appointments are important for monitoring the minor’s progress, adjusting dosages if needed, and addressing any concerns from the parents or guardians.

 

Final Thoughts on Medical Card for a Minor

The stress of getting a medical marijuana card minors can be stressful, but you don’t have to do it alone, we’re here to make the process as smooth and swift as possible. Our comprehensive consultation services allow you to talk to our doctors in charge and be equipped with the necessary information you need. If you’re worried about the application process, we’re here to assist you. From preparing documentation to submitting forms and following up, Dr. Weedy has got you covered. 

Once your minor has their card, you can be assured of ongoing support including education resources, regular check-ins, and community connections to ensure the treatment is effective and compliant. Allow us to make this journey smoother and more manageable for you and your family.

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