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Marijuana has become an effective alternative to a number of traditional medicines in treating several health conditions. With the legalization of medical marijuana, commonly referred to as cannabis, in Kentucky, medical relief is now a step ahead for patients looking for alternative therapy solutions. And if you are someone who is looking forward to it, we have got you covered. A straightforward and comprehensive guide that helps you get through the step-by-step process of getting your medical marijuana card in Kentucky. We are well aware that this high-level overview may sound a little ambitious but we are sure once you finish up with this article, you can head straight to the medical relief you have much-deserved. Let’s get started!
As the fastest growing industry in the United States, medical marijuana (MMJ) — or medical cannabis — is a widely recognized alternative medicinal treatment that has been getting the attention it deserves since people became aware of its healing properties.
Kentucky, like many other states, has taken notice of the war on drugs failing and decided to do something about it. Attempting to help their living, breathing, tax-paying constituents, the state boasts their challenge to the prohibition on marijuana while it still remains a Schedule I substance on the federal government’s Controlled Substances Act.
This guide will walk you through the process of securing your Kentucky medical marijuana card. We understand that this could be an extremely confusing process, so we have broken it down into easy-to-follow steps. By the end of this guide you should have all the information that you need to feel confident in your ability to obtain a medical marijuana card, giving you the freedom to access the healing powers of this alternative medicinal treatment.
Legal Background of Medical Marijuana in Kentucky!
Before we get into the step-by-step process, it is important for you to understand the legal background of medical marijuana in the state of Kentucky. Understanding the laws and the regulations will help you have a strong foundation as you embark on this journey.
For years, Kentucky took a hard line against marijuana in any and every form. It was one of the states that most aggressively fought against marijuana use, with some of the harshest penalties in the country on the books for marijuana-related offenses.
Change in Public Perception
One factor that contributed to the influx of legislation in the 1990s and 2000s was a change in the perception of the public. Advocates, patients, and their families began lobbying to legalize medical cannabis because it can relieve suffering for individuals with diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis.
House Bill 166 (2014)
Another defining point towards this moment of change was the first talking place in 2014 when House Bill 166 was signed into law and it allowed for the limited use of cannabidiol ( CBD) oil, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, only for severe seizures. However, it was an extremely limited form of creating use of cannabinol products.
Senate Bill 124 (2015)
In 2015, Senate Bill 124 was signed into law. This legislation allowed for the expansion of Kentucky’s Medical Cannabis program, to include other medical conditions and forms of cannabidiol (CBD), and acted as a broader acceptance to the potential overall benefits of legalizing medical marijuana.
The Medical Marijuana Bill (HB 136, 2019)
Rep. St. Onge’s piece gives a concise back story on how we got to where we are today, by saying “Kentucky’s journey to potentially becoming the 34th state to legalize medical cannabis began in earnest in 2019. House Bill 136, which was signed into law as House Bill 136, legalizes medical marijuana for qualified patients with one of several specific medical conditions who receive a medical marijuana card from a physician. The program is to be administered by the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control”.
Regulations and Implementation
Passing a bill was the first step. In 2020, the state set about the work of creating regulations and a framework for a medical marijuana program. This encompassed establishing licensing systems for growers, processors, dispensaries and the health care practitioners who can recommend medical marijuana.
Eligibility for a Medical Marijuana Card
Before beginning the process of getting your medical marijuana card, it’s essential to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. Kentucky requires that in order to qualify for a medical marijuana card, you:
- Are a Kentucky resident and have a valid Kentucky driver’s license or state-issued ID card.
- Have a debilitating medical condition or the symptoms of such a condition that qualify for the use of medical marijuana under KRS 218A.020(10).
The full list of qualifying debilitating medical conditions are included in the medical marijuana program’s Regulations at 902 KAR 55:120, Section 5.
- Are under the care of a practitioner who is licensed under KRS Chapter 311 or 313 and has diagnosed you with the corresponding debilitating medical condition or, in the case of symptoms, met the necessary requirements of Section 2 of that administrative regulation.
- Have been recommended the use of medical marijuana by said practitioner. Once you know if you are eligible for a card, you can start with the process of applying for your medical marijuana card.
STEP 1: Preparing Your Medical Records
Get your medical records organized and ready to share with potential surgeons. Start by calling your current doctors to request copies of your records. You will need to sign a release form for each office in which you have a doctor. Some offices may charge you a small fee for this service. You will also need to get copies of any tests, x-rays or other exams that were performed in other offices or hospitals.
The initial step to obtaining a medical marijuana card in Kentucky is to secure the services of a physician to organize and consolidate all of your pertinent medical records. A complete set of your medical records will be required as your supporting documentation to qualify for medical marijuana in Kentucky
- A. Contact Your Healthcare Providers
Get in touch with and notify the healthcare providers who have been treating your condition. This can include: the your primary care provider, specialists, and any other healthcare providers taking care of you. Request a copy of your medical records, which will include everything:
- Your medical history, including information about your qualifying condition(s).
- Medical records, such as a diagnosis from a health care practitioner or test results.
- Information about prescribed medication(s) and treatments pertaining to your qualifying condition(s).
- Any other kinds of treatments or therapies you’ve tried or are currently receiving for your qualifying condition(s).
- B. Create a Medical Records Folder
Keep a folder or digital file on your computer where you can organize your medical records. Having all of your medical information in one place will make it easier and more efficient for you to complete the application.
- C. Review Medical Records
Take the time to review your medical records and make certain they accurately reflect your medical condition. If you suspect your medical records are incomplete, or were never transferred, or some important information you shared with your medical providers was not included — it is up to you to contact your medical providers to complete your records.
- D. Keep Up-to-Date Records
If you get new medical examination reports or receive new medical information, such as new prescription medications, add them to your medical folder. This step is essential for renewals or other future features that may appear on your medical marijuana card.
Essentially, your medical records are required for your condition, as this will be the evidence, to your suitability and therapy with medical cannabis. Your relevant medical records will likely include; now and then, detailed or short and it would be ideal if it were up to nearly against or under prescription, which happened 12 months ago.
STEP 2: Finding a Qualified Physician
The next important step for obtaining your medical marijuana card in Kentucky is finding a licensed healthcare practitioner who is registered with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure and authorized to recommend medical marijuana. Here’s what to do:
- A. Inquire with Your Current Healthcare Provider
A simple first step is to reach out to your regular healthcare provider, for example your primary care physician or specialist, and to see if they have reached out to become a registered medical marijuana recommender. There may be healthcare professionals that have already begun this process.
- B. Use Online Resources
To find a registered healthcare practitioner in Kentucky who is authorized to recommend medical marijuana, you can go to online resources and directories. Some good places to start your search are going to websites maintained by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure or the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control.
- C. Consider a Specialized Cannabis Clinic
If the above methods did not help you find a registered healthcare practitioner, you may need to access a specialized clinic or cannabis practice. These are typically operating with healthcare providers who specialize in medical marijuana evaluations.
- D. Confirm that the Doctor is Licensed
No matter how you find a qualified healthcare provider, be certain that he/she is licensed and in good standing as a medical practitioner in Kentucky. Not all doctors are willing to recommend patients to the Medical Use of Marijuana Program. You will want to confirm if your potential doctor is a registered provider.
- E. Set an Appointment
As soon as you realize that you’ve found the right doctor for you, set up an appointment with them to be evaluated. Remember the every-single-time rule? Follow it: bring your medical records with you to the appointment. This way, if you have migraines, the doctor can see that you’ve suffered from migraines; instead of having to take your word for it-only to wonder if you’re lying.
STEP 3: Schedule an Appointment
Once you’ve found a qualified healthcare practitioner who is willing to evaluate you for a medical marijuana recommendation, you’ll need to schedule an appointment. Here are some things to think about when setting up your appointment:
- A. Be Prepared
When you call to make your appointment, be ready to give the necessary information, like your name, contact information and a brief overview of why you believe you’re eligible for medical marijuana. Depending on the clinic, you may also need to be able to prove that you’re a Kentucky resident.
- B. Appointment Availability
Remember that healthcare providers who are registered to recommend medical marijuana may not be able to evaluate you right away. To ensure that you get an appointment to be evaluated, plan out your own personal schedule to ensure that you leave a slot open for a short-notice appointment.
- C. Feel Free to Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions during the appointment scheduling process. You may want to ask about the practitioner’s experience with medical marijuana recommendations, how evaluations work, the costs for an appointment, and anything else that’s on your mind.
- D. Double-check your Records
Before you head in for your appointment, make sure that you have every document and piece of medical paperwork or identification that you need. This will not only make your process go a little faster but also allow the recommending healthcare provider to make an educated assessment.
- E. Double-check your Records
The amount of time that an appointment lasts can differ, but you should expect at least some time spent going over your medical history and your present conditions. The healthcare provider will need the proper information to be able to make a valid recommendation.
STEP 4: Attend the Physician Appointment
The day of your appointment with the healthcare provider has arrived. Here’s what you can expect during the evaluation:
- A. Thorough Assessment
Your healthcare provider will conduct a thorough assessment of your medical condition. This includes carefully reviewing your current and past medical records, talking with you about your symptoms and history, and discussing any previously attempted treatment.
Being straightforward with your health care professional is important. Be honest about all aspects of your health including how bad your symptoms are and how difficult it has been to carry out your normal activities.
- B. Treatment Options
Your medical provider may discuss several treatment options with you, including medical marijuana if the provider feels it may be appropriate. They will determine if you qualify and if medical cannabis may be appropriate in managing your condition.
- C. Questions and Clarifications
We encourage you to ask any questions you may have and try to clarify any uncertainties that you may still have about medical marijuana that you want answered before leaving your appointment. It is the perfect time for you to learn how medical marijuana can make a difference for you!
- D. Recommendation Decision
After reviewing the evaluation, the practitioner will determine whether a recommendation of marijuana is appropriate.
- E. Required Documentation
The healthcare provider will complete all necessary paperwork and documentation to support and process your application for a medical marijuana card.
STEP 5: Physician Recommendation
Once you have completed your evaluation, and if you qualify for medical marijuana, your healthcare provider will give you a written recommendation, which is required to apply for your card. Be sure to make note of these important factors:
- A. Document Details
Your document should have the health care provider’s name, license number, address and phone number, along with your name and address for your qualifying condition along with the recommendation for medical cannabis.
- B. Keep a Copy
Make copies of the letter for your own files. You need the original letter to go with the application, but if you lose the application or if it’s denied and you need to reapply, having a copy on file will make it easier.
- C. Discuss What Happens Next
Before you leave the office, talk to your doctor about what comes next. He or she might be able to give you a sense of the next steps and what else might be required of you.
STEP 6: Completing the Application
With your doctor’s recommendation in hand, you’re ready to start the application process. You must complete the application representing your county of residence for a Medical Marijuana ID Card. The application consists of several sections:
- A. The Application Form
Download and print the official application form from the website of the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control. Check for the most recent version of the application, which is regularly posted online.
- B. What to Bring
Collect the required documents. These will depend on your purpose of travel, but may include:
- Proof of Kentucky residency, such as a Kentucky driver’s license or state-issued ID.
- Your physician’s written recommendation for medical marijuana.
- A couple passport-sized photos for your card.
- Application fee. The fee is $50, but please check the most recent fee schedule on the Marijuana Card Program’s website to confirm.
- C. Fill in the Entries
Enter all the required information on the application form carefully and correctly while filling out the form. Enter all the types necessary information including information about yourself and your qualifying medical condition.
- D. Passport Photos
Get passport-sized photos. The requirements for the photographs are given in the application.
- E. Passport Photos
Pay any required application fees. These fees can vary, so check www.abc.ky.gov by clicking on “Statutes and Regulations” and viewing the current fee schedule. g. Submit Application: Submit your completed application form, all required documents, and required fees to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Office where application is being processed. Follow the instructions in the Application Packages. Kentucky has moved towards an online permitting system, however, county allocations have not implemented the move to the online system. Some counties may have authorized you to submit electronically.
- E. Patient Registry
Once your application is approved, you will be added to the Kentucky Medical Marijuana Patient Registry. The registry includes records for individuals issued a valid medical marijuana card.
The application process will require careful attention to detail, so take your time to make sure to provide all the necessary information and documentation. Errors or omissions may result in delays in the processing of your application.
Once you have completed your application, take some time to review it and make any necessary corrections. Make sure you have answered all of the questions fully and accurately. Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
When you are satisfied with your application, save it and then submit it. Review the application again before you submit it. There should be an email address or a physical address for electronic submission. If you are mailing a hard copy, be sure to double-check the address and any special instructions for mailing.
STEP 7: Submit Your Application
Once you finish filling out the form, the next step — and we hope you are sitting down for this— is that you need to give it to someone. Below are a couple things to be sure you know before you hand it over. Don’t feel too bad about not realizing that this was technically your job for the day, because there was no way you could have known that.
- A. Verify Submission Method
Before sending, make sure you are certain of the best way to submit your form (CD, thumb-drive, etc.) to the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control.
- B. Tracking and Confirmation
If available, you can also send it with either tracking or certified mail, so that you will know for sure that the document got to them, and that your grandma didn’t slip a cookies into the package, thus opening a can of worms that will result in her being taken off of your approved landing page.
STEP 8: Receive Your Medical Marijuana Card
As soon as your application is processed and permitted, you’ll be sent a card that lets you legally acquire medical marijuana at dispensaries. Cards will be sent out once the application form was reviewed and the physician’s recommendation has been signed.
Our Simple 3 Step Process For Medical Marijuana Card
2. Get Evaluated by a Local MMJ doctor After Online Submission.
3. Get Approved and Register with your State to Get Your Card
Looking To Apply For A Medical Marijuana Card?
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