How to Get a Medical Card Under 18 Years of Age Online
Adults with certain debilitating conditions have access to medical marijuana, but do kids?
Yes! Parents or guardians with a child that has a qualifying illness are able to apply for a medical marijuana card on their behalf.
Here we’ll guide you through the process and explain each step along the way.
Keep reading to find out how to get a medical card for children under 18.
Can You Get a Medical Card Under 18?
Yes. Anyone under 18 can get a medical card in a MMJ friendly state. In order to do so, a child must qualify by fulfilling the requirements to get medical marijuana in that region.
Generally, those under 18 have tougher criteria for getting a medical marijuana card than adults.
In many states, minors will need a qualified caregiver in order to be eligible for medical cannabis. Typically caregivers must be over 21, depending on the location, and meet specific requirements.
Some states only allow medical marijuana cards for minors with qualifying conditions such as cancer and seizure disorders.
While others require two medical recommendations from two physicians.
Requirements for Child Medical Marijuana Cards
The specific criteria for those under 18 can vary by state. However, children will likely need to meet the following requirements:
- Be a state resident
- Have at least one qualified caregiver that is also a state resident
- Obtain medical cannabis certificate from a physician
- Be diagnosed with a qualifying condition
- Apply for the state’s medical marijuana registry program
MMJ can prove a valid treatment for children with debilitating illnesses. Each state determines which health conditions individuals must have to be eligible for medical cannabis.
Here are some of the common medical conditions a child must have to qualify for a MMJ card:
- Brain Tumors
- Muscle Spasms
- Seizure Disorders
- Spinal Cord Tumors
- Terminal Illnesses
Note: some states may demand that other treatments be used before allowing a child access to marijuana. For instance, if your child is diagnosed with epilepsy you may have to prove that standard forms of treatment were ineffective.
What Is A Caregiver?
A medical marijuana caregiver is an individual who is responsible for assisting a patient who suffers from a debilitating condition.
The designated individual has the ability to collect and administer medical cannabis to the patient. They are not required to be related to the person.
Typically, the caregiver must be at least 21 years old. They must also have a record clear of any felony offenses, as they often need to pass a background check.
Caregivers should be a state resident with a valid identification and proof of address. However, they cannot be MMJ patients themselves. And they cannot be their medical marijuana physician.
Medical Marijuana Caregiver For Minors
When it comes to caring for minors, a parent or guardian can quite easily be the qualified caregiver.
While the individual doesn’t need to be a parent, it’s essential to prove that they have been the primary caretaker throughout the child’s life thus far. So being a parent or guardian makes the process easier.
Some states require caregivers to complete a 12 hour long course. This can vary depending on the exact nature of the child being looked after.
For example, if children suffer from certain conditions their caregivers may need to undergo additional training.
Usually patients can only have one caregiver but this can differ according to the state you live in. As always, check with your state to be sure!
Minors Cannot Get A Medical Card Without A Caregiver
In most states, children under 18 cannot get a medical cannabis card without a qualified caregiver. Even in places where recreational weed is legal, adults must be 21 and over to use cannabis.
To access MMJ, minors are required to have caregivers who can purchase and dispense medical marijuana treatment.
A medical marijuana physician will not give children a medical card without one. Unless they are legally emancipated from their parents or guardians.
Typically, children are not allowed in dispensaries and therefore cannot purchase their own medicine. But designated caregivers can buy medical cannabis for them.
How to Get a MMJ Card When Under 18
Except for the addition of caregivers, the process is nearly the same as getting a medical card for an adult. Minors just have a few more requirements.
Caregivers will need to apply for a medical card on the child’s behalf. This involves completing a medical cannabis application for your child, designating yourself as your child’s caregiver, and filling out an additional application where necessary.
The steps for getting a medical marijuana card for minors usually include:
Prepare Your MMJ Documentation
When applying, both individuals will need documentation to prove who they are and where they live.
While this varies per state, you’ll typically need to submit:
- The caregiver(s) valid photo ID
- The minors birth certificate or valid photo ID
- Proof of address from the last 60 to 90 days.
- 2 passport style photographs of the minor and caregiver
- Medical history of the child
- Criminal background check (some states require it)
Acceptable Forms of ID
Typically, these types of identification documents will suffice:
- Valid Driver’s license issued from the state your applying in
- Valid Identification Card issued from the state your applying in
- Valid Passport
Acceptable Proof of Residency
The residency requirement can vary by state. But most often, these documents will qualify:
- Rental agreement
- Bank statement
- Most recent W-2 form
- Recent utility bill (from the previous 2 months)
Consult With A Medical Marijuana Doctor
Next, you must consult with a licensed physician. You’ll likely be required to visit two physicians. This can be done online or offline.
Both the minor and the designated caregiver must be present to discuss the treatment and needs of the child. The doctor will determine if the benefit of using medical marijuana outweighs the risk.
We highly recommend Leafwell or Veriheal. Both have money back policies. So if the child is not approved for whatever reason, it won’t cost you a thing.
Note: you must visit a pediatric physician in some states to qualify.
- Apply within 10 minutes!
- Connect with a board certified physician
- Your money back if you’re unsuccessful with your application
Obtain The Minor’s Medical Certificate
Assuming the physician approves your child for medical marijuana, you’ll receive a physical certificate or email if you consult online.
You’ll need the cannabis certificate(s), aka medical marijuana recommendation(s), to apply for your state’s medical cannabis program.
Apply for the medical marijuana program in your state. Note: this is a requirement for most MMJ friendly states.
Usually, you’ll fill out an application with the state’s Department of Public Health. When you apply for your state medical cannabis program you are essentially registering with the state.
Caregivers will also need to provide additional documentation and information. If approved, you’ll be given a unique caregiver ID number.
This is how both individuals will receive registry medical cards.
Note – some states no longer require state registration, for example Virginia.
Receive The Minors Medical Card + Caregiver Cannabis Card
You can expect to receive both cannabis cards in the mail within a few weeks.
Other states, such as Illinois, only provide virtual cards. So you’ll just need to print them out or show them to the dispensary on your phone if allowed.
The medical cards allow the caregiver to shop on behalf of the child.
What Info Will Be on A Medical Marijuana Card?
Children and their caregivers will be given a medical card independently. But both cards will typically display the following information:
- A photo
- Your full name
- Your unique ID number
- How to verify your card’s validity
- The date of expiration
- If you are a patient or caregiver
How Much Does a Medical Card for Minors Cost?
It varies. The total cost differs by state and sometimes by county. Unlike a patient medical card there is an additional cost for the caregiver’s card.
The price also depends on how long the state will certify the child for medical cannabis. Some states like Illinois allow for 3 years of registration. While others like California require annual renewals.
Overall, it will cost anywhere from $150 – $500 per renewal. This estimate includes the price of a MMJ recommendation and medical marijuana card.
Will the Child’s Primary Care Physician Know They Have Received a Medical Marijuana Card and Recommendation?
Simply put, yes. When your child is approved for medical marijuana treatment and gets a certificate their PCP will be notified.
This is also to avert any negative drug interactions should your child be using other treatment. So PCPs are made aware for your child’s well being and to prevent any risk.
Can A Caregiver Grow Marijuana?
A caregiver has similar rights to a medical marijuana patient.
As such, it depends if the state allows patients to grow medical cannabis. If patients are permitted to cultivate plants, typically caregivers are too.
Most states only allow caregivers to have a certain number of medical marijuana patients at any given time. And they are usually limited as to how many patients they can grow cannabis for.
In some regions patients and their caregivers can request to cultivate more plants. For example, in Colorado medical marijuana card holders are allowed a maximum of 6 plants. But they can grow up to 99 cannabis plants if a doctor deems it necessary.
Depending on the state, caregivers may also need a separate license to grow weed.
When a Child Turns 18 Are They Required to Wait Until Their Current MMJ Card is Expired to Apply For Their Own?
Nope. Unless your child is unable to get medical marijuana on their own, they can apply for an adult MMJ card as soon as they reach the age 18. They will no longer need their parents’ to register on their behalf.
However, they will likely need to submit a new application as a first time patient. This may include getting a new certificate from a physician and reapplying for the state’s medical marijuana registry program.
With an adult medical card, a person over 18 can go to a licensed dispensary and purchase MMJ for themselves.
Unique State Variations
State medical marijuana laws can vary significantly. The ease of access also differs per state.
For instance, in California a minor needs their guardian’s or parent’s approval until they are 18. Whereas in Illinois there are some unique changes to MMJ access in line with Ashley’s Law.
In 2018, Governor Brucer Rauner approved Ashley’s Law. This landmark legislation changed medical marijuana use for qualifying kids. It was named after 11 year old Ashley Surin.
Ashley Surin was cured of Childhood Leukemia at age 2. Due to medical treatments, she suffered from seizures after chemotherapy treatments. To stop her semi-regular seizures, Ashley needed to use CBD patches at school.
At the time, state laws prevented her from using it. And it was illegal for school nurses to give it to her onsite.
Without the CBD patches she was unable to make it through a full day. She needed to use a wheelchair at school due to seizures.
That’s when her parents stepped in. They campaigned for their daughter and filed a lawsuit. Her parents claimed that the state’s bar on using medical marijuana treatments at school went against the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The lawsuit was brought to federal court and the law named in her honor was passed. She has remained seizure free at school ever since.
With the passing of Ashley’s Law, children with a medical marijuana card who are in the state’s registry program are allowed on-site medical cannabis use.
Currently three other states (Colorado, Maine, and New Jersey) allow qualifying students to use legal medical cannabis treatments at school.
In many states, like Washington, where schools are not required by law to allow such use, schools can set their own rules.
The laws for caregivers can also vary by state. In New Jersey caregivers are required to be 18 years old. While in New Hampshire parent caregivers are not allowed at all.
Wrapping Up: Getting a Medical Marijuana Card for Your Child
To date, 37 states have legalized medical marijuana. And often this extends to eligible children as well.
Chances are if MMJ is legal in your state, minors can get a card too. If your child suffers from a debilitating medical condition such as cancer or epilepsy then it’s definitely possible.
- Apply within 10 minutes!
- Connect with a board certified physician
- Your money back if you’re unsuccessful with your application
Usually, to get medical cards, they will need to have a caregiver (it can be you!) and to complete certain criteria. Children must also register with their state’s medical marijuana program.
If you’re interested in getting a medical marijuana card under 18 refer to our helpful guide.
For those that qualify, MMJ can be a valuable treatment for both children and adults alike.