How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington State

Are you a Washington Resident in need of a medical marijuana card? Look no further! 

We made this helpful guide just for you. With meticulous research, we simplified the process of becoming a WA medical cannabis patient.

Keep reading to learn more about Washington’s medical marijuana program in 2024.

Getting your WA medical card is only a few steps away.

MMJ Washington state

Washington Medical Marijuana Program

In 1998, medical marijuana became legal in Washington with the passage of Initiative 692 (I-692).

I-692 protected qualifying patients and their caregivers who possessed up to a 60 day supply. However, it wasn’t until 2007 when a 60-day supply was legally defined.

Medical marijuana laws underwent further changes in 2011. That year a MMJ bill was passed altering the requirements to recommend cannabis to eligible patients. For the first time, the criteria for authorizing medical marijuana was instituted.

In 2012, recreational cannabis was approved via Initiative 502. It allowed anyone over 21 to purchase cannabis from a licensed cannabis retail store.

Finally, in 2015 the Cannabis Patient Protection Act was signed and took effect on July 1st, 2016.

This act established the regulation and licensing of cannabis growers, manufacturers and retail stores. The regulation is managed by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLC).

Currently, Washington has a MMJ database system for patients seeking a physical registry card. This medical cannabis program, run by the Washington State Department of Health, is voluntary.

What can you buy as an MMJ patient in WA?

Medical marijuana cardholders can purchase the following amounts from a licensed cannabis store:

  • 3 ounces of usable marijuana
  • 21 grams of concentrated cannabis
  • 48 ounces of marijuana infused products in solid form 
  • 216 ounces of marijuana infused products in liquid form

The types of products MMJ patients can buy include:

  • Dried cannabis flower
  • Pre-rolls
  • Tinctures
  • Extracts
  • Concentrates 
  • Topicals
  • Edibles
  • Beverages

Patients with a valid registry card may also grow up to 6 plants for personal use.

Note: if your MMJ doctor authorizes a larger grow amount for medical needs you may grow up to 15 plants.


Washington Medical Card Requirements 

In order to be eligible for a medical marijuana card you must be a legal resident of WA.

Medical cannabis patients should be over 18. Individuals under 18 may apply for a card if they have a caregiver (referred to as a “designated provider”) over 21 years old.

In short, to qualify for a card you need to:

  • Be a legal resident of Washington
  • Submit proof of residency
  • Be over 18 or have a caregiver over 21
  • Provide proof of age
  • Be diagnosed with at least one qualifying medical condition
  • Register with Washington’s medical marijuana database*
  • Pay the recognition card fee

*Note: registering for a recognition card is optional for MMJ patients over 18.

Acceptable Forms of ID & Proof of Residency

  • Valid Washington state-issued ID card
  • Valid Washington state-issued driver’s license

WA Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions 

Washington residents must also be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition or terminal illness to be eligible for a MMJ card. 

A qualifying health condition is defined as severe enough to limit or interfere with daily life and the ability to function. 

Here’s a list of approved qualifying medical conditions in Washington:

  • Anorexia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic renal failure that requires hemodialysis 
  • Crohn’s disease (with debilitating symptoms that is untreatable with standard medical treatments or medications)
  • Epilepsy 
  • Glaucoma (acute or chronic, treatment-resistant)
  • Hepatitis C (with intractable pain or severe nausea that is not relieved via standard treatments or medications)
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Intractable pain (defined as pain not relieved or lessened by standard medications or medical treatments)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizure disorders
  • Spasticity disorders
  • Terminal Illnesses
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Disorders that result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, which are not relieved by standard treatments or medications

Can I Still Qualify for Medical Marijuana if I Do Not Have an Approved Medical Condition? 

No. At this time, adding a qualifying medical condition to Washington’s approved list requires legal change. A law would need to be enacted for patients with other conditions to be eligible for MMJ use. 

While PTSD is an approved condition, other mental health conditions like bipolar, depression, and anxiety are not approved yet in Washington.

How to Get a Medical Cannabis Card in Washington State

In a hurry to get a MMJ card?

First, you’ll need to see a board certified physician licensed to practice in the state of Washington. The medical marijuana doctor will determine if you’re eligible. If so, they’ll give you a recommendation.

This visit can occur online or in office. Pro tip: going online is much cheaper! It is also more convenient.

Most well established telehealth services offer money back guarantees. So if you are not approved, the visit is completely free.

Follow these three simple steps to get your Washington MMJ card today:

1. Consult With A WA Certified Healthcare Professional

Prospective medical marijuana patients must visit a licensed healthcare practitioner. The medical marijuana doctor must be board certified and have a valid medical license.

If they determine that you suffer from a qualifying condition or debilitating symptoms unrelieved by standard treatments you’ll be issued a MMJ authorization form.

This visit can occur via telemedicine or in person.

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2. Receive Your Certificate

Once approved for medicinal cannabis, the doctor will provide you with a MMJ recommendation.

This certificate is called a “Medical Cannabis Authorization” in Washington.

You should expect to receive this tamper proof certificate in the mail in about 7-10 business days.

You’ll use this form to buy medical marijuana from licensed retail stores.

3. Register With the State Database (Optional)

This step is not a requirement. But to get a physical MMJ card you can register with the state’s voluntary patient database.

Medical marijuana patients who want to purchase larger amounts or avoid paying sales tax will need one.

To get a card, you’ll need to visit a medically endorsed retail store. There you’ll meet with a medical marijuana consultant who will assist you in getting a registry card.

Be sure to bring your authorization and valid government issued ID to show the consultant.

After paying the $1-$10 mandatory fee you’ll be issued a medical cannabis card.

You’ll use this card to make sales tax free purchases.

Can I Get A Medical Marijuana Certificate Online?

Yes! Obtaining a MMJ recommendation online is quick and easy. 

The entire process takes just a few minutes. And you’ll get your certificate entirely online.

We recommend checking out the telemedicine service Veriheal. They have a 100% money back guarantee policy if you’re not approved. So there’s zero risk!

WA medical card

How Much Does it Cost to Get Your MMJ Certificate Online?

If you are approved, Veriheal charges $199 per recommendation.

Washington Medical Marijuana Card Benefits

Owning a Washington state medical marajuana card has many advantages.

Cardholders enjoy these exclusive benefits:

Lower Taxes

Patients registered with Washington’s medical marijuana program can save a lot of cash! They pay zero sales and use tax on medical cannabis purchases at licensed stores.

Larger Assortment to Buy From in More Dispensaries vs Rec

MMJ cardholders have access to stronger products. Patients are exclusively able to purchase high-THC cannabis products. Recreational cannabis products have lower THC limits.

Larger Possession Limits

Patients that are a part of WA medical marijuana database can have more cannabis on hand than rec users. MMJ cardholders can have up to eight ounces of usable marijuana and 6 plants in their residence. Recreational consumers can only have one ounce of usable marijuana.

Higher Purchase Limits

At licensed and medically endorsed cannabis stores, patients can buy three times the legal limit.

Legal Protection

Medical cannabis patients that abide by Washington state law are protected from arrest and seizure.

Caregiver Requirements in Washington 

Patients who are unable to apply for a medical card by themselves can appoint a caregiver or “designated provider”. The caregiver will be able to purchase and grow medicinal marijuana on their behalf. 

Minors are required to have a designated provider. 

To be eligible, the patient must designate a caregiver on their medical marijuana authorization form. 

Designated providers or caregivers cannot be the patient’s doctor and can only assist one patient at a time.

In sum, to qualify as a designated caregiver you need to be:

  • Over 21 years old
  • A legal resident of Washington
  • The parent or legal guardian if the patient is under 18
  • Listed on the patient’s medical marijuana authorization

How to Apply for a Caregiver Card in WA

Applying for a designated providers card is easy!

Just follow these three steps:

1. Be named on the Patient’s Medical Marijuana Authorization Form

The designated provider must be listed on the patient’s authorization form. This form is issued by the attending healthcare provider and should be printed on tamper-resistant paper. 

2. Sign your copy of the Authorization

The medical cannabis authorization form must be fully completed. The patient and caregiver will each receive a copy of the form. The patient and caregiver must sign their own copy. 

The form is valid for 1 year unless the patient is a minor. In which case, the form is only valid for 6 months. 

Keep this form handy as you’ll need it for the next step. 

3. Register With Washington’s State Database if Patient Registers or is Under 18 

If the patient registers with the state database or is a minor, the designated caregiver must also register. 

The caregiver’s information will be entered into Washington’s database and issued a registry card.

How Many Plants Can I Grow in Washington with a Medical Card? 

With a valid medical card, patients can grow up to 6 plants per residence. Patients can cultivate up to 15 plants if their doctor deems it medically necessary. 

If multiple patients live at a single residence, a maximum of 15 plants can be grown. 

Registered cooperatives are exempt from this 15 plant limit. Such cooperatives are allowed to grow up to 60 plants in a designated area.

Does Washington Accept Out Of State Medical Cards?

No. Washington state does not have medical marijuana reciprocity. So they do not accept out of state medical marijuana cards. 

However, cannabis is legal for recreational adult use so anyone over 21 may purchase marijuana from a licensed retail store. 

If visiting you can buy up to:

  • 1 ounce of usable marijuana
  • 7 grams of concentrated cannabis
  • 72 ounces of marijuana infused product in liquid form
  • 16 ounces marijuana infused product in solid form 

Wondering which states actually accept out of state MMJ cards? Check out our list of medical marijuana reciprocity friendly states

Wrapping Up: WA Medical Card

Becoming a Washington medical marijuana patient is pretty easy!

Residents over 21 with a qualifying conditional can qualify. All you’ll need is a MMJ authorization completed by a healthcare practitioner.

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  • Seamlessly connect with a physician via Veriheal telehealth
  • One simple fee
  • Approved for MMJ or your money back!
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Qualifying patients under 18 can also be eligible for a medical registration card if they have a designated provider.

As we outlined above, the process of becoming a medical marijuana patient or a designated provider is simple and straightforward.

While recreational cannabis is legal, having a MMJ registry card comes with many added benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does it Take to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington?

You must make an appointment with a certified medical marijuana consultant at a medically-endorsed store once you receive a medical cannabis authorization.

If eligible, you will receive a laminated medical card during your appointment. 

How Long is a Medical Cannabis Card Valid for in Washington?

A Washington medical cannabis card expires when the patient’s medical cannabis authorization expires.

Authorizations are valid for 1 year from the date of issue. Minor’s authorizations are only valid for 6 months. 

Do You Have to be a Washington Resident to Get a MMJ Card?

Yes. A patient must prove they are a legal resident of WA. This can be done by providing a Washington state-issued ID card or driver’s license. 

How Much Does it Cost to Get a MMJ Card in Washington?

The total cost will depend on how much you pay for the MMJ certificate.

For example, if using Veriheal the total cost will be $200-$209. The recommendation will cost $199 and the medical registry card costs between $1-$10. 

Are Patients Under 18 Eligible for a Washington MMJ Card?  

If a healthcare provider deems marijuana to be of medical use to patients under 18, minors can be eligible.

The doctor will need to provide a medical marijuana recommendation which will be valid for 6 months. Patients under 18 must also have a designated caregiver. 

Where Can I Legally Consume Cannabis in WA?

You can only consume cannabis in a private residence.

Consuming cannabis in public places is prohibited. It is illegal to use marijuana in parks, public transportation, sidewalks and schools. 

Do I Need to Submit Medical Records When Applying?

No. You are not required to submit your full medical history or records when registering for a Washington MMJ card.

You will need to submit your doctor’s medical marijuana authorization or recommendation. 

Do I Have to Register With the WA State MMJ Program?

No. Registering is voluntary for individuals over 18. However, minors and their designated caregiver must register with the state database.

Patients aged 18-20 must also register with the state database in order to purchase MMJ from a licensed or medically-endorsed retail store.