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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Colorado

February 15, 2023

Colorado DOES NOT allow telehealth visits for new medical cannabis card patients. In-person visits are REQUIRED if you are receiving your medical cannabis card for the first time. My Virtual Physician is not currently available to assist patients for a Medical Marijuana Card in Colorado.

Colorado is known for being one of the pioneering states in the endeavor to legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Today, both are legal—and have been for some time—but there are some disparities to keep in mind.

If you’re a Colorado resident looking to understand the difference between medical and recreational marijuana, you’re in the right place. Or, if you already know that you’re looking to get a medical cannabis card, but aren't sure how to do it, we can give you the steps and point you in the right direction.

In this guide, My Virtual Physician breaks down the distinction between adult use and medical use of marijuana and lays out the process of obtaining your medical cannabis card online as a Coloradan.

Medical Cannabis Card Vs. Recreational

At the turn of the century, back in 2001—Colorado became one of the first states to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. And just about a decade ago, they pushed the bounds even further by extending adult use of marijuana to citizens over 21 years (in 2014).

Since both medical and adult use is legal, you may wonder what the difference is between the two. For one, you don’t need to apply for or carry a card if you’re buying recreational marijuana. So, why still get a medical cannabis card in Colorado? Find out below.

There are some major advantages to carrying a medical marijuana card as opposed to just using your recreational rights in Colorado. For one, there’s a significant saving in taxes for medical marijuana cardholders.

Take a closer look below to compare getting a medical card for cannabis vs. recreational use in Colorado:

Medical Marijuana Cardholder Recreational Use (Adult Use)
  • No more than 8g of concentrates (up to 20,000 mg THC)
  • No more than 8g of concentrates (up to 800 mg THC)
Quantity Allowed in Possession
  • Up to 2 ounces per transaction
  • Up to 2 ounces in possession
  • Up to 1 ounce per transaction/day
  • Up to 2 ounces in possession
  • Up to 6 plants with up to 3 flowering at one time
  • Ability to petition for more plants to meet medical needs
  • Up to 6 plants with up to 3 flowering at one time
Price and Taxes
  • No excise tax
  • 15% Excise Tax on top of state and local sales tax
Age Requirement
  • 18+
  • Ages 18-20 need two different provider certifications from two different practices each year
  • Under 18 with special cases and permission
  • 21+

In addition to the financial savings at the dispensary counter, a medical card for cannabis reduces restrictions on possession and allows you to purchase concentrates with a much higher potency, if desired. So, are you ready to see if you qualify for a cannabis medical card in the Centennial State?

Do I Qualify for a Medical Cannabis Card in Colorado?

To qualify for a medical cannabis card you’ll have to meet certain conditions. In Colorado, there are two levels of medical conditions that could qualify you for medical marijuana:

  1. Debilitating Medical Conditions
  2. Disabling Medical Conditions

A debilitating medical condition grants you the ability to get a cannabis card for one full year. Alternatively, a disabling medical condition can be more temporary and may need to be renewed as frequently as every 60 days up to a year, depending on your doctor’s recommendation.

Before applying for your medical cannabis card—first verify your medical condition falls within one of the two qualifying categories.

The following are authorized as debilitating medical conditions in Colorado:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Cachexia
  • Severe Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Persistent Muscle spasms

Disabling medical conditions in Colorado include:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Any condition in substitution for an opioid

If your medical condition fits into one of the above categories, you can proceed with the next steps to get your card.

Next, we’ll cover the steps to get your card for medical marijuana in Colorado.

Getting Your Medical Cannabis Card in Colorado

Once you’ve confirmed that your condition is on the list of qualifying medical conditions, there are three simple steps to get your card.

  1. Physician’s Certification
  2. Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry Application
  3. Payment

Step #1: Physician’s Certification

A doctor’s evaluation is the first step to getting your medical cannabis card in Colorado. The main purpose of this visit is physician confirmation of your medical condition (which must match a condition from the approved list for marijuana patients).

IMPORTANT: Colorado requires an in-person evaluation for medical marijuana physician certification.

Since My Virtual Physician currently does not have a physical location in Colorado, we can only provide the instructions for obtaining your medical marijuana card for informational purposes—you'll need to see a local physician in-person to obtain your certification. Often, your primary care physician can help.

After your in-person visit, your PCP or other local doctor will take care of sending the electronic paperwork to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which manages the state’s medical marijuana registry. Your physician certification will be waiting for you in the Colorado Marijuana Registry portal so that you can add it to your medical cannabis card application in the next step.

In Colorado, physician certifications are only good for one year. That means you’ll need a new appointment every year to renew your card.

Step #2: Medical Cannabis Card Application

After your physician evaluation, you’ll have six months to submit your Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry application. This process can be done online through the state’s portal for the fastest processing in as little as 1-3 days.

Begin your application by following these tips before applying and then heading to the portal to register and start a new application. Your physician certification will become available to you during the application process to select.

Once approved, you’ll receive an email notification. From there, you’ll be able to go in and download your card.

Step #3: Paying for Your Medical Cannabis Card

Getting a medical cannabis card in Colorado is affordable when compared to other states. Similar to other states, there are two payments required to two different entities.

  1. Pay your doctor for the evaluation (Physician Certification)
  2. Pay the state registration fee

Call your local doctor's office to inquire about costs for a standard appointment for completing the physician certification. In some cases, your insurance may cover the cost for this visit. For state registration fees, Colorado charges a $29.50 processing fee per application. Fee waivers are available to patients whose income is 185% of the Federal Poverty Level or less.

Your Colorado medical marijuana card must be renewed every year through the online portal (or sooner if your card specifies). Renewal fees are the same as the initial registration charge and you must also get a new physician certification.

Now, Start with Step One

Get your Colorado medical cannabis card by scheduling an appointment with a local doctor who is licensed and willing to certify your medical condition approving medical cannabis. While My Virtual Physician is currently unable to get involved in the marijuana card certification process for Coloradans, we can still help you manage your pain or other medical conditions through a telemedicine visit. See if your condition is on this list of acute and chronic conditions we can help with during online virtual visits.

Get Your Medical Cannabis Card Now

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