Get a Medical Cannabis Card in Maine
Figuring out how to get a medical marijuana card in Maine is somewhat confusing.
The state’s official “Medical Use of Marijuana” online platform is vague, and it doesn’t outline the step-by-step process too well.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Maine
Step 1 – Find a Physician in Maine
In other MMJ programs, you get the valid MMJ card from the state itself. This is not the case in Maine. Instead, your physician is entirely responsible for the evaluation and examines your medical records. They also decide whether you are eligible.
Next, they register you with the MMMP (Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program). Finally, they issue a medical marijuana certification. Sometimes, this happens within hours of your initial consultation.
Step one is not always straightforward. Physicians in the state are notoriously divided when it comes to the use of medical cannabis. If your PCP is “anti-cannabis,” plenty of MMJ doctors in Maine are happy to consult with you.
Once you are deemed a qualified patient, the physician’s office will print your “Tamper Proof” MMJ Certificate. At this point, you can legally buy weed from one of the state’s licensed dispensaries.
Step 2 – Documentation Required for Your Maine MMJ Card
The only things you need to bring to the physician’s office for your initial MMJ consultation are:
- Proof of Maine residence: Most people use their valid Maine driver’s license.
- A valid form of payment: This is for the cost of the physician consultation, as well as the application fee. Most Maine marijuana doctors accept cash and major debit/credit cards. However, many will require payment before the visit).
- Copies of your medical records: You need to bring copies of your medical records showing a diagnosis of one of the acceptable qualifying conditions. Otherwise, the MMJ doctor will likely not issue your certification on the same day. Their office will provide you with a Medical Release Form and assist you with obtaining your records from previous doctor’s offices. **
**A federal law from 2004 requires all health care providers to issue patients a copy of their medical records within 15 days of a formal request. What if the office states otherwise, or refuses to release the documents? In that case, you may notify them (verbally and in writing) that you will report them to the Maine Medical Board. You DO NOT have to provide a reason for a copy of the records. **
What Are the Maine Medical Marijuana Costs?
The application fee is $100. You can also expect to pay between $199 and $300 for a physician consultation. Your Maine MMJ card lasts for one year from the date it was issued. You (or your caregiver) must get in touch with the issuing physician’s office to send for renewal at least 30 days before the card’s expiration date.
You must meet with the physician or nurse practitioner again to prove your continuing eligibility. Your primary caregiver pays a $10 renewal fee. The annual physician’s visit will cost the same as the initial fee.
What Conditions Qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in Maine?
You must receive a diagnosis for a specific qualifying condition from a licensed Maine medical professional. You must also provide documentation of the diagnosis in your medical records. The list of current qualifying medical conditions includes:
- Chronic Pain (which has not responded to conventional therapy for more than six months)
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C (active form)
- Seizure Disorders
- Severe Muscle Spasms (including MS)
- Severe Nausea
Of course, the only condition open to “interpretation” is chronic pain. As such, there is a danger of patients ‘faking’ the illness. Maine counters by implementing a protocol regarding a chronic pain diagnosis. It defines the condition as documented pain that “has not responded to conventional therapy” for more than six months.
It seems that some Maine MMJ doctors are willing to bend the rules a little. At least, they are according to first-hand accounts. Once a doctor verifies a qualifying condition diagnosis, getting an MMJ card in Maine is relatively easy.
What Happens Once I Am Approved for an MMJ Card in Maine?
Your physician will ask how you want to receive your meds. You have three options:
- Grow your marijuana.
- Purchase from a licensed dispensary.
- Use a designated caregiver.
Where Can I Purchase My Cannabis?
The state of Maine has a dispensary program. Only locations registered under the rules of the medical marijuana program can provide patients with marijuana. This means the dispensaries have to operate on a not-for-profit basis.
Does Maine Have a Reciprocity Program?
Yes. The Maine MMJ program offers reciprocity to out-of-state patients as long as they can produce a valid certification from their home state. They must also have a valid ID from their home state.