Qualifying for Your Oregon Medical Marijuana Card

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PART ONE - GETTING THE CARD

How do I get a Medical Marijuana Card?

The first step is to determine whether or not your medical condition will allow for your use of Medical Marijuana in Oregon. The following are the only conditions for which patients may use Medical Marijuana in Oregon:

Cancer
Glaucoma
Positive status for HIV/AIDS
Agitation due to Altzheimer's
PTSD

OR

ANY medical condition which results in the patient suffering:

Severe Pain
Severe Nausea
Muscle Spasms
Seizure Disorders
Cachexia


So if you hear someone stating that they received a Medical Marijuana card “for migraines”, it is really the severe pain caused by those migraines that qualified them. In practice, this usually means that chronic painful conditions will qualify someone, acute painful conditions will not. A broken leg is quite painful, yet the pain will usually fade as the leg heals. This would not qualify someone. A broken leg that fails to heal properly, and which causes severe pain over an extended period of time might qualify someone. Each patient is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and the evaluation must start with the patient's medical records. The same applies to these potentially qualifying conditions:

Fibromyalgia
IBS
GERD
Degenerative Disk Disease
Spondylitis
Arthritis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Why do you need my medical records?

Oregon state law requires that all patients prove that they possess one of the conditions for which the use of Medical Marijuana has been authorized. Just seeing someone's surgical scars, swelling, etc. is not sufficient evidence that a qualifying condition exists. Our doctors make a preliminary determination on someone's eligibility based on that patient's chart notes, lab reports, etc. They then confer with the patient to confirm the existence of a qualifying condition before signing the recommendation. Without medical records, there is nothing for them to evaluate. Since the program exists to allow for the medical use of marijuana, a medical need must be demonstrated. And that means that we need your medical records.

How do I submit my medical records?

The easiest way is to complete an “Authorization to Request Medical Records”. Once you have signed this form, we will send it to your doctor(s), clinic(s), etc. They will send your records to us.

If you already have your records, you can mail or fax them to us, or simply walk in and drop them off during business hours.

What if I don't want any of my doctors to know that I am using Medical Marijuana?

While we strongly believe that doctors should be aware of all treatments that patients are using, in order to incorporate all the available information when determining treatment and care, we understand that patients might be reluctant to share their use of Medical Marijuana with a doctor who is opposed to its use. If we request a patient's records directly from a doctor, that doctor will know who received those records, and may know that the requesting clinic is a Marijuana Card clinic. The only way to avoid this is to have the patient request his/her own records, and deliver those records to us themselves.

What happens after you get my records?

Your medical file is given to one of our physicians for review. They look for sufficient documentation of a qualifying condition, based upon what your doctor has included in your chart notes. If there is enough evidence that you qualify, a clinic staff member will contact you to make an appointment to come in and meet with the doctor who reviewed your records. Patients must meet with the doctor in order to get their recommendation signed.

If your records do not contain enough information to qualify you, staff members will be able to offer suggestions on an individual basis to potentially correct the lack of records. This may mean a delay in processing your application, and may necessitate additional out-of-pocket cost. There may be additional records that need to be tracked down or additional examinations. While we regret the need for this when it happens, state law requires that certain requirements be met.

What happens when I see the doctor?

There will be a non-invasive physical exam, basic vital signs will be taken, and the doctor will ask you about your medical history. They may ask about treatments you have received, medications you have been prescribed, specialists or test results, etc. They will discuss the use of Medical Marijuana in various forms with you and follow-up treatment, as needed. At the conclusion of a successful consultation, they will sign your recommendation to use Medical Marijuana.

The doctor signed my form. Now what?

Now you need to mail the entire application package, via certified mail, to the OMMP office in Portland. We will assist you with this by making all the necessary copies, ensuring that all the forms are completed correctly, provide you with the correct mailing materials, and give you a check list so that you are assured that your submission is done properly.

A complete application package contains the following:

A state application form listing the name and address of the patient, anyone that the patient names as a caregiver, and the person that the patient has designated as their grower. (This may be the patient him/herself, or someone else.) You must also list the physical address of the site where your Medical Marijuana will be grown.

A signed and dated “Attending Physician's Statement” which will be completed by the clinic doctor. Once the doctor has signed the recommendation, the forms must be received in Portland within 90 days before the doctor's signature expires and the patient must go through the entire process again.

(You do not have to print out these forms, as we will have them ready for you on the day of your appointment.  The links are provided so that you can see what each form looks like, and what information you will need to provide in order to complete the form properly.)

Copies of the photo ID's of everyone listed on the state application. These must be government issued ID's – a state ID card, driver's license, or military ID card. The state does change its requirements for permissible ID from time to time, so other forms of ID might be acceptable at the time you apply. Clinic staff will be able to provide you with current information.

Payment to the state of Oregon for one year's participation in the Oregon Medical Marijuana program.

This fee is $200.00 a year, unless you are receiving food stamps, Oregon Health Plan benefits, SSI (Supplemental Security Income), or are a veteran. You must send along a valid award letter, a copy of your enrollment card or proof of service in the United States Armed Forces in order to qualify for the lower yearly fee. Please note, SSD (Social Security Disability) is NOT sufficient to get the lower fee.

Patients currently receiving food stamps will be required to pay $60.00 a year.  OHP recipients will pay $50.00 a year. SSI recipients and veterans pay $20.00.

When will I get my card from the state?

Although state law requires OMMP to process applications within 30 days, in reality, there may be a much longer waiting period. This does not mean that there is a problem with your application or documentation, just that there are many more applications being received than the office can process in a timely fashion. It may take a couple of months or more for the state to approve your application and mail out the official cards. However, you may begin using Medical Marijuana before the card arrives, provided that you have 2 things in your possession.

The first is copies of all of the materials that you submitted to the state. We refer to this as your 'safety packet.'

The second is your proof of the date that you submitted the application packet. This is why you must send it by certified mail. Your postmarked certified mail receipt provides the proof of the date that you mailed the application to Portland, and when attached to your safety packet, protects you from any legal repercussions, just as a state-issued card. Due to recent legislation, the OMMP will start issuing receipts to patients that have applied for the their card; this receipt will protect you from criminal sanctions AND will allow the patient to purchase Medical Marijuana tax-free at state-regulated dispensaries.

Can I get a card if I have never seen a doctor for my condition?

Short answer – no. Better answer – not yet. You will have to establish medical care for your condition before you can be considered for a card. There are a number of ways to do this, which we can discuss with you on an individual basis. But the bottom line is- medical need for a qualifying condition must be demonstrated in order to qualify for an Oregon Medical Marijuana card.

I had surgery 10 years ago. Can I get a card?

That depends. Just having had surgery is not usually sufficient reason to qualify for a Medical Marijuana card. The law says that you must currently be under care for the qualifying condition. If your surgery failed to correct the problem, or has caused other problems, and you suffer from severe pain, severe nausea or another qualifying condition, and the ongoing issues are medically documented, then you may qualify.

I just moved here from another state. Can I get an Oregon Medical Marijuana card?

Yes – if your medical records are sufficient. Those records do not have to be from a doctor in Oregon. We can request records from anywhere for evaluation. There is now a minimum residency requirement for Oregon patients, however. You need an Oregon ID or another ID along with proof of residency, such as Oregon tax returns, utility bill, lease/mortgage agreement, etc.

Can I just transfer my Medical Marijuana card from another state?

No. There is no means set up whereby a patient can just switch over a Medical Marijuana card. Each state that permits the use of Medical Marijuana does so for a different list of conditions. A condition which might qualify you in one state might not be on another state's qualifying list. So cardholders from other states must go through the entire Oregon process as though they never had a card at all.

Please note – there are a few Medical Marijuana states which recognize out-of-state Medical Marijuana cards. Oregon will soon start recognizing the medical cards of other states to posses marijuana, but you will not be able to have your own medical garden unless you have an Oregon Medical Marijuana card.

I don't know anyone who grows Medical Marijuana. How do I fill out the application?

The state requires that a grower's name and address be included on the application. If you do not know someone to grow for you, your application does not need to wait to be submitted. You can put yourself down as your own grower, and your address as the grow site. This does not commit you to grow there, but you can if you so choose. You can now state that you don’t have a medical garden. There is a simple change form that can be submitted to the OMMP office at a later date, once you have located a suitable grower, or need to change grow site locations.  There is a fee of 100.00 to submit this change, however.

What is a Medical Marijuana Caregiver in Oregon?

Under Oregon law, a patient may name a caregiver on their application. This person would be someone who lives with, or who is around the patient regularly, who assists them with the daily living tasks that they cannot do because of their medical condition, and who might be called upon to help the patient with growing their own medicine, assisting the patient's grower, making medicated edibles or other products for the patient, transporting medicine to the patient, etc. This is not the same thing as a patient's Primary Care Provider (doctor) or the state paid in-home caregiver. A patient should name a trustworthy caregiver, someone who is known personally by the patient, as that person will be handling the patient's medicine. Patients may not want to name someone that they do not know, since a caregiver who violates state law may have all of the medicine in their possession taken in evidence, meaning that the patient must do without.

Do I have to go to your clinic to get a card?

No. State law allows any MD or DO who is licensed in Oregon to sign the recommendation form. If another doctor will sign for you, you do not need to come to our clinic, provide medical records, etc.

However, there are many doctors who refuse to sign, for a variety of reasons, from personal prejudices to prohibitions of their employer.

Why do you keep saying recommendation and not prescription?

Marijuana cannot be prescribed in the United States  under federal law. A prescription is a specific medical order for a patient to use a certain drug. Until federal scheduling classification changes, all that doctors can do, legally, is to state that Marijuana might mitigate a patient's medical condition. That constitutes a recommendation, not an order (prescription).

What will all this cost me?

Our clinic fee, which covers everything needed to submit your paperwork to the state, is $175.00.  This is payable at the time that you see our doctor to get your recommendation signed.

As noted above, there is an additional fee due to the state of Oregon to process the application and print the cards.

* $200.00 for those that do not qualify for the low-income fee.

* $60.00 if the patient receives Food Stamps.  (The patient must specifically be named as a participant.  Just living in a house where someone else gets these things will not qualify you for the lower fee.)

* $50.00 if the patient receives OHP (Oregon Health Plan).

* $20.00 if the patient receives SSI (Supplemental Security Income). Social Security and Disability patients do not receive this discount.

* $20.00 if the patient is a Veteran with proof of service in United States Armed Forces.

The state has also added a $100.00 fee to replace any lost or stolen OMMP card, or to reprint cards due to changes in the patients' grower, grow site, caregiver, etc.  If you have questions, please call and clinic staff will be happy to advise you.

The grow site registration fee is $200.

Who must pay - Growers must pay the grow site registration fee IF they are:

 • Growing for another person; or

 • Growing at a site other than their home; or

 • Growing more than 12 plants; or

 • Transferring excess product to processors or dispensaries.

OMMP will notify a grower when a patient submits a new or renewal application and lists them as the grower. The notification will instruct you to go online and pay the grower fee.

Online payment can only be made with a credit or debit card.

TO BE EXEMPT from paying the grow site registration fee and submitting monthly reporting data, ALL of the following must be true:

 • You are growing only for yourself; and

 • You are growing at your own residence where there are 12 or fewer mature plants; and

 • You are not transferring product to an OHA processing site or dispensary.

Growers that aren’t exempt must submit monthly reporting data online to OHA beginning in July 2016 for the month of June 2016 and monthly thereafter.

Growers also must currently prove two-year Oregon residency, unless they have been growing since January 1, 2015, then they must prove just one year of Oregon residency. This residency restriction has been changed (again) by new laws and will be eliminated soon after new rulemaking gets finished.

PART TWO- AFTER GETTING THE CARD

Why does a renewal cost as much as a new card?

We are required to do exactly as much paperwork for a renewal as for a new card. The state says that patients must demonstrate two things in order to get a card each year- that they possess a qualifying condition, and that they are receiving care for that condition. The law makes no distinction between being a renewal and being a first time applicant. So we have to collect and process the same amount of paperwork for each patient, new or renewal.

I have something that will never get better or go away. The doctor has done everything that he can for me. Why do I need to keep going back to that doctor?

State law requires that patients prove each year that you still have the condition and that you are still receiving care for that condition, even after the doctor says that there is nothing more that he or she can do and the chronic condition won’t ever go away.

Can I drive while using Medical Marijuana?

Driving impaired, under the influence of Marijuana, is still on the books as a crime. Even if you have a medical card, you cannot legally drive while under the influence of the medicine.

If I have a card, does my landlord have to let me grow at my house or apartment?

No. The property owner has no obligation to permit you to grow on his property. Your recommendation to use Medical Marijuana does not constitute a medical order, so he can choose to prohibit you from growing there – or even from smoking inside your own house, if your lease says that you cannot smoke inside. The card does not grant you special permission or protection with regard to landlords, leasing, etc.

If I have a card, will that mean that Child Services cannot take my kids away?

It depends. Recently, the Oregon courts determined that Marijuana use does not automatically mean bad parenting. However, you must make sure that you present the best possible case, should Child Services ever choose to intervene. Keep your Medical Marijuana under lock and key, whether it is useable Marijuana, your Marijuana plants, or any Marijuana-infused edibles or products. Make sure that your children understand that this is your medicine, not to be touched or shared with anyone else. Maintain order in your house and keep a low profile. Having your kids run about the neighborhood babbling about “Mommy's medicine” is attention that you probably do not need. Discretion is the key word. You certainly don’t want your children to get cited for possessing your Medical Marijuana. As long as the negative stereotypes regarding Marijuana continue to direct public policy, patients must accept that certain behaviors will not be treated fairly.

What is the impact of a Medical Marijuana card on employment?

That completely depends on the employer. The employer has no legal mandate to accommodate the use of Medical Marijuana. He may choose to fire a cardholder once the use of Medical Marijuana is known. He may refuse to hire a cardholder. He need not make any arrangements for a Medical Marijuana user to use their medication at the workplace. Unlike other disabled people, Medical Marijuana patients have no protection at all with regard to employment.

If I have a criminal record, can I get a card?

Anyone with a qualifying condition can get a patient card. The state only conducts background checks on those who are named as a grower, either for themselves, or for another patient.

According to the Oregon Administrative Rules:

“The Department shall conduct a criminal background check on the grower as authorized under ORS 475.304.

(a) A person convicted of a Class A or Class B felony under ORS 475.840 to 475.920 for the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Schedule I or Schedule II, if the offense occurred on or after January 1, 2006, may not be issued a marijuana grow site registration card or produce marijuana for a registry identification cardholder for five years from the date of conviction.

(b) A person convicted more than once of a Class A or Class B felony under ORS 475.840 to 475.920 for the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Schedule I or Schedule II, if the offenses occurred after January 1, 2006, may not be issued a marijuana grow site registration card or produce marijuana for a registry identification cardholder.

Misdemeanor convictions are not considered. Violations and citations are not considered. Felony convictions that are not for Controlled Dangerous Substances are not considered.

HOWEVER...

If you are convicted of violating Oregon's Medical Marijuana law, you can have your possession limits restricted and be denied a card for subsequent offenses.

Again, from the Oregon Administrative Rules:

(1) The Department may suspend a registry identification card, and preclude a person from using a registry identification card for a period of up to six months if the Department obtains evidence that establishes a registry identification cardholder has:

(a) Committed egregious violations of the Act, including obtaining a registry identification card by fraud;

(b) Committed multiple or continuing violations of the Act; or

C Been convicted of a marijuana-related offense.

How much medicine can I have with my card?

At any one time, every patient in Oregon may have, in their name, 24 ounces of dried, usable Medical Marijuana. That means all of your dried, usable medicine, where ever it is being stored must not exceed 24 ounces at one time. That does not mean that you can have 24 ounces at your house, another 24 ounces at your caregiver's home and another 24 ounces out at your grower's place.

You may also have, at your designated grow site, up to 6 mature Medical Marijuana plants, and additional starts or seedlings (plants that are not flowering).

A person designated to produce marijuana by a registry identification cardholder may not possess usable marijuana in excess of 12 pounds usable marijuana per mature plant for marijuana grow sites located outdoors; or 6 pounds per usable marijuana per mature plant for marijuana grow sites located indoors.

Where do I get my Medical Marijuana?

You can grow it, name someone to grow it for you, or purchase it at state-licensed dispensaries. You can also receive gifts of Medical Marijuana from another patient, provided that there is NO consideration exchanged for the medicine; no one without a state license can profit from the sale of Marijuana.