Our main priorities have always included helping people navigate the process of applying for their Colorado Medical Marijuana registry card.  Another has been to develop and cultivate a strong network of healthcare professionals working within the Medical Marijuana industry in Colorado so that we can make safe and appropriate referrals to our clients.  And finally, we have always been committed to educating people about the amazing health benefits that the Cannabis plant offers.  We believe that Cannabis education includes providing information about how Cannabis and its products work with the human body’s systems of homeostasis, about how the Cannabis plant has been used throughout history for its medicinal benefits, about how much promise for future treatments is being revealed through scientific research.

Colorado is one of several states that currently offers a system in which people living with a variety of health issues can safely and legally access Medical Marijuana treatments.  Any patient with a valid Colorado registry card may legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes, and their caregiver may assist them in doing so.  Police are instructed not to harm or neglect any property related to medical marijuana, including plants; any property seized must be returned as soon as the DA determines possession was for medical use.

In Colorado, eligible conditions include:

AIDS
HIV
Cancer
Glaucoma
Any of the following symptoms that are caused by a chronic or debilitating disease, or the treatment of such disease:
o cachexia (severe weight loss caused by a medical condition or its treatment)
o severe pain
o severe nausea
o seizures
o persistent muscle spasms

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has received petitions to add the following as “qualifying medical conditions” for which physicians may recommend medical marijuana. However, these conditions were not approved to be included:

Asthma
Atherosclerosis
Bi-polar Disease
Chron’s Disease
Diabietes Mellitus (types 1 and 2)
Diabetic Retinopathy
Hepatitis C
Hypertension
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
Opioid Dependence
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Severe Anxiety and Clinical Depression
Tourette’s Syndrome

In Colorado, a “Primary caregiver” must be at least eighteen years old, a Colorado resident, must not be the patient’s physician, must not have a primary caregiver of his/her own, must submit a Caregiver Acknowledgement form with the patient’s Application or Change, Replacement or Surrender Request form, and have significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient. For minors, a parent or legal guardian must be designated as the caregiver. The caregiver may legally grow, possess, and distribute marijuana for the patient. Caregivers are restricted to serving 5 patients, though exceptions can be made in certain circumstances.  The caregiver’s name and address will appear on the patient’s registry ID.

A “minor applicant” is defined as a patient less than eighteen years of age. Minors may be legal medical marijuana patients as long as:

They reside in Colorado and have a parent or legal guardian residing in Colorado
Their parent or legal guardian provides consent in writing to serve as the minor’s primary caregiver
They have parental consent from each parent residing in Colorado
Two physicians have concluded that the minor applicant has been diagnosed with a debilitation medical condition
Documentation that at least one of the physicians referenced above has explained the possible risks and benefits of medical use of marijuana to the minor applicant and each of the minor applicant’s parents residing in Colorado

To apply for a Colorado Medical Marijuana registry card, you must be:

a Colorado resident with a valid Social Security number
receiving treatment for a qualifying medical condition (see above)
examined by a doctor with whom you have a bona fide physician-patient relationship.

The Application is provided at:https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/medical-marijuana-forms

A Physician Certification form is provided at:https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/medical-marijuana-forms

Additionally, you must submit a copy of your Colorado driver’s license or photo ID (or a Proof of Identity and Residence Waiver), and a $15 check or money order (as a non-refundable application processing fee) made out to CDPHE (or a Fee Waiver).  Minors should use the same form as adults and additionally include the Parental Consent Form and a second doctor’s certification.

You do not need to have your application or other Registry forms notarized, except for the Parental Consent form.

Except for minor applicants, if the department fails within 35 days of receipt of an application to issue a registry card or fails to issue a verbal or written notice of denial of an application, the patient’s applications for a card will be deemed to have been approved.

You need to update your registration and pay another $15 every year, with all documentation, even if it hasn’t changed, including a new signed physician’s statement. This should be received within 30-60 days before your card expires.

If there has been a change in your address or caregiver, or if you need a replacement for a lost, stolen, or damaged card, you must submit a completed Change, Replacement or Surrender Request along with a copy of your photo ID and a photo of the front and back of your damaged card to medical.marijuana@state.co.us. A replacement card will be delivered within 2-10 business days. You are allowed one replacement card for a lost or stolen card during your annual registration period. Additional requests will result in a $15 processing fee.

Keep copies of all of your paperwork.

The State of Colorado won’t help you find a doctor. Doctors cannot be punished for discussing or recommending medical marijuana to their patients. The doctor who writes your recommendation must be licensed in Colorado and in good standing.

The registry is confidential. Police or government officials can only access the registry to check if you are a lawful patient. The ID card will show your name, address, date of birth, social security number, plus the name and address of your caregiver. It will not list your medical condition.

The Colorado medical marijuana laws do not require an employer to accommodate medical use of marijuana in the workplace. It is not specified whether or not this regulation concerning accommodation pertains only to on-the-job medical marijuana use, or more generally, to the employment of medical marijuana patients. The law does not discuss the issue of employment-related drug testing.

However, in a Colorado case Coats v. Dish Network, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld Dish Network’s termination of Brandon Coats when he tested positive for medical marijuana. The court ruled that Dish Network was within its rights to enforce its zero-tolerance substance policy because marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Your health/prescription insurance will not cover medical marijuana expenses.

Colorado only recognizes its own state-issued medical marijuana ID cards. However, Arizona, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Michigan should recognize your Colorado card. However, each state provides limitations.

This information is provided as a general overview of the Medical Marijuana system and its application process.  At Medical Cannabis Outreach, we understand how navigating the application process can feel confusing and overwhelming, and we are here to help you every step of the way.