California Medical Cannabis Cards – Pro-Con

California Medical Cannabis Cards – Pro-Con

We have heard rumblings about a debate about California Medical Cannabis Cards – Pro-Con. There shouldn’t be a debate unless you have overriding concerns about the Second Amendment. Both sides of the issue are covered here.

California Medical Cannabis Cards - Pro-Con
California Dept. of Public Health

Medical Card Sales Tax Exemption – There is a clear and substantial advantage for customers to avail themselves of a ” medical card” due to potential savings of sales tax [but clearly not excise tax] on purchases. Sales of medical cannabis to those who have a medical marijuana identification card (MMIC) issued on a county-by-county basis by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and a valid government-issued identification card are now exempt from sales and use tax. Consumers can obtain the CDPH-issued cards at their county health department, at a cost that varies by county  [See Medical Cannabis Tax Exemption].  The taxes on recreational cannabis can be as high as 45%, whereas medical cannabis users can witness a 25% reduction in taxes.

Important – Medical Cards Should Be Obtained From County Government 

While there are numerous private providers of medical cards in California, get yours from your County Board of Health. You can read about program rules on the California Dept. of Public Health website here. You can read about fees for cards here.

You can use this website to verify the validity of County issued Medical Cannabis Cards. The list of participating California counties [56 out of 58] can be found here.

Age Requirements – Medicinal vs. Adult Use – the required age for Adult Use is twenty-one, while Medicinal is available to anyone between the ages of 18 and 20, and to any minor with an adult caregiver, for they’ll still be able to access their medicine.

Quantities For Personal Plants and Purchases Higher for Medicinal  – Recreational marijuana rules in California dictate that citizens can grow six plants at home and keep an ounce in their pockets — no more, no less. With a doctor’s recommendation, however, medical cannabis patients can expect more, as in more of everything.

Greater THC Concentrations in Edibles – Starting on Jan. 1, the standard for edible cannabis products is 100 mg of THC, and that 100 mg must be divided into identifiable servings of no more than 10 mg each. Topicals and tinctures with more than 1,000 mg of THC are similarly banned.

However, there’s a loophole, and an exception: Medical cannabis patients will be able to access topicals or tinctures with up to 2,000 mg of THC. And these medical patients will also be able to legally purchase otherwise contraband edibles. Products that don’t abide by the new 100 mg rule will be able to be sold in medical dispensaries until July 1, provided they’re affixed with a label identifying them as strong medicine.

Caution – BATFE Views Anyone With A Medical Cannabis Card as A Prohibited Person

One of the major disadvantages of having a medical marijuana card is that you give up your 2nd amendment, meaning you can’t purchase firearms. So, if you are into guns you’ll have to choose what’s more important to you; healing yourself or protecting yourself. Putting it another way.

Yep, we wrote Purchase Legal Cannabis in CA – Have BATFE Knocks Down Your Door. The law in the jurisdiction of CA-9 is that cannabis users, including legal users, are prohibited persons under GCA-1968. Some police departments have sent out letters and are working with BATFE to actively CONFISCATE firearms.

The CA-9’s current ruling is Firearms-Cannabis-Never-California. The holding in Wilson v. Lynch,  [No. 14-15700 D.C. No. 2:11-CV-01679-GMN-PAL].

The panel affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a complaint challenging the federal statutes, regulations, and guidance that prevented plaintiff from buying a gun because she possesses a Nevada medical marijuana registry card.

The panel preliminarily held that plaintiff lacked standing to challenge 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3), which criminalizes possession or receipt of a firearm by an unlawful drug user or a person addicted to a controlled substance.

The panel held that plaintiff’s Second Amendment claims did not fall within the direct scope of United States v. Dugan, 657 F.3d 998 (9th Cir. 2011), which held that the Second Amendment does not protect the rights of unlawful drug users to bear arms.

California Medical Cannabis Cards - Pro-Con
Make SURE card has State Seal

Medical Cards Have to be Renewed Annually

Not sure if this is a downfall, but it is pretty annoying. Most medical card providers or doctors will issue you a recommendation that is valid for 1 year. Even if you don’t live in the state of California, you’ll still be required to apply to your state’s Board of Health for your renewal. New cards or renewals can range per state anywhere between $50-$200.

Concerns About Military, Law Enforcement and Government Employment

If you are aiming for a government career, then think twice about obtaining a medical marijuana card. Depending on the state you live in, and whether or not you need to apply to your state’s Board of Health to obtain your card, your details will go on record. For example, when applying for a medical card in California, there is no need to go through the state’s Board of Health, and therefore your details are legally sealed, and no one has them except you and your medical marijuana doctor. It’s 100% percent confidential.

Finally, some points that didn’t fit elsewhere.

Gifts and product giveaways are not allowed for recreational marijuana users. On the other hand, medical users are exempt from this restriction under certain circumstances. Recognizing the need for low cost, easier access to cannabis for veterans and lower-income individuals, this is a huge step forward for California’s cannabis consumers.

Furthermore, medical card holders will get twice the THC limit prescribed for edibles as well. On top of that, a medicinal user will also be eligible to carry cannabis products with them on a plane.

Use of Decoys

California Board of Public Health


Author: abizcannabis

Managing Director & CEO of integrated transactional financial advisory, tax, and technology consulting firm - aBIZinaBOX Inc New York, Chicago, and OaklandCPA.CITP.CISM.CGEIT.CGMAExpertise with: Alt. Investments/Private Equity, Real Estate, Professional Services, CA Cannabis, Tech Start-Ups and Distressed Assets/DebtTechnology Certifications including:Advanced & High Complexity Cloud Integrator AICPA PCPS, CAQ,, IMTA, CITP ISACA CGEIT, CISMState CPA Societies in California, Florida, Illinois, New York and TexasExpertise with Regulatory Compliance - US - HIPAA, FINRA, SEC Rule 17(a)(3)/(4), eDiscovery, FINCEN - EU- EBA, ESMA, EIOPA UK - BoE, PRA, FCA