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The Sanctuary Wellness Institute Reviews

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"When I needed my medical marijuana certification, I turned to the Sanctuary. They made the entire process so easy and I was able to submit my registration to the DOH with no problem and, most importantly, no judgment. Thank you!"

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    The Sanctuary Wellness Institute Reviewed by Jennifer E. - Medical Marijuana Card Evaluation review
    February 12 2020

    "...I will definitely recommend  the doctor and Sanctuary Wellness to others"

    "Dr. Raymond was kind and well informed and I felt like he was really advocating for me. I will definitely recommend him and Sanctuary Wellness to others.* "

    Rating: 5

How It Works

Medical Marijuana Doctors in California


You can only apply for a medical marijuana card after you obtain a written medical marijuana recommendation. The doctor issuing the recommendation must conduct an evaluation and conclude that you have a serious medical condition with symptoms that will respond to cannabis.

The consultation will involve questions about your medical history and the nature of your symptoms. The doctor will also answer any questions you may have about treatment with cannabis. Once they determine that you will benefit from medical cannabis, they will issue you a written recommendation.

Any licensed doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, or podiatrist in good standing with the state of California can issue a recommendation for potential cannabis patients. However, every physician is not required to do so.

How to Find a California Medical Marijuana Doctor?

Doctors with experience recommending medical marijuana understand its therapeutic benefits and are the most qualified to make recommendations for it. They take the time to understand the needs, expectations, and concerns of their patients so that they can determine whether they’d make good cannabis users.

The FDA does not yet recognize cannabis as a legitimate medical treatment. However, patients have used it for decades, and to great effect. In that time, it has proven beneficial for many physical and psychological conditions.

Oncologists, primary care physicians, palliative care specialists, and other types of specialists can all be medical marijuana doctors. Regardless of your medical marijuana doctor’s field, they’re sure to be well-informed and knowledgeable about cannabis’s medicinal value.

California Medical Marijuana Application

A physician can issue a recommendation for medical marijuana to any qualified California resident. While state law dictates eligibility and safety requirements, county health departments process marijuana card applications and issue medical marijuana identification cards. Contact your local health department to clarify its application requirements before starting this process. Such requirements can vary from county to county.

The first step in the application process is to obtain a written recommendation from a valid California physician. You must then complete a medical marijuana program application form, which can be downloaded from the California Department of Public Health’s website.

In addition to the completed form, your application packet must include:

A copy of the medical recommendation issued by your doctor
A copy of your proof of identity--typically a driver’s license or other government-issued ID (minors must submit a copy of their birth certificate)
A copy of your proof of residency that shows your name and current address--typically a mortgage document, lease agreement, utility bill, or California motor vehicle registration

You must submit these documents in person to your county's health department, pay the application fee, and have your photo taken for your marijuana card. Applications are processed within 35 days.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in California

The process of obtaining a card varies by county of residence. Contact your local health officials to clarify the requirements for your application.

Call the Sanctuary to Schedule a Visit with a Medical Marijuana Doctor

You cannot move forward with your application for a card until you obtain a written recommendation from a medical marijuana doctor. The Sanctuary can connect you with licensed California providers who are up to date on all applicable regulations. They will be able to answer your questions about medical marijuana.

Your provider will conduct a brief yet comprehensive examination to confirm your suitability for medical marijuana and explain its benefits, risks, and possible side effects so you understand how cannabis will impact your medical condition.

Gather Supporting Documents

Next, you’ll need to download and complete the application from the Department of Public Health's website. A complete packet requires copies of your physician recommendation, proof of identity, and proof of residence. Ensure all of your copies are clear and legible. Also, make sure you keep the original copy of your physician's recommendation.

If you’re a minor, be sure to check with your local health department to verify its documentation requirements for minors. Eligible caregivers must also complete an application and provide supporting documents.

Submit Application to Your County Health Department

Next, you must schedule an appointment with your county's health department. Either the qualifying patient or their caregiver must be physically present at the appointment. The county’s representative will collect the application fee and take a photograph for your ID.

Wait for Approval

The county will verify your application and make its determination within 30 days of receiving it. They must alert you of denial or issue your card within five days of that determination. Contact the county if you do not receive your marijuana card or denial by mail within 35 days of submitting your application.

The best way to receive prompt approval is by ensuring that your application is accurate and complete when you submit it.

About Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana in California


Medical marijuana is available in California for a variety of medical conditions. It's crucial to talk to your doctor about your symptoms because some chronic ones that don't respond to medical treatment may qualify you for California's medical marijuana program.

Qualifying Conditions

Under California law, your physician can recommend cannabis to help you manage the symptoms of any of these medical conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Chronic pain C
  • Seizures/Epilepsy
  • Migraine
  • Severe nausea
  • Anorexia
  • Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Persistent muscle spasms

Chronic or persistent medical conditions whose symptoms significantly limit your daily functioning or seriously affect your safety, physical health, or mental health can also qualify you for medical marijuana treatment.

Cannabis is also often recommended for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, insomnia, and substance abuse. Consult a medical marijuana doctor if you believe cannabis can alleviate the symptoms of your medical condition(s).

California Medical Marijuana Card Renewal

Patients' medical marijuana cards are valid for one year from the date of their issuance. The expiration date of your card will appear on your card. Caregivers’ cards expire when their qualifying patient's cards expire, even if that date happens to be less than one year from the card’s issuance.

The renewal process is the same as the initial application process. Your county may require supplemental medical records in addition to photo identification and proof of residency. Check with your local health department to verify its requirements.

California Medical Marijuana Laws

California restricts recreational marijuana to 1 ounce of dried leaf or 8 grams of concentrate. Qualified patients and their caregivers can possess up to 8 ounces of dried marijuana at a time. Keep in mind that your county may impose different restrictions. Be sure to verify the allowable amount you can possess when submitting your application.

Authorized medical marijuana users are also able to cultivate up to 6 mature or 12 immature marijuana plants at one time. Many communities have zoning ordinances governing grow sites, and some require permits to cultivate marijuana.

Check your local laws before you begin planting marijuana plants. In addition, since landlords are not required to permit tenants to cultivate in rental properties, verify the terms of your lease agreement before you start growing plants in your apartment.

California marijuana consumption laws prohibit everyone, including medicinal users, from smoking cannabis anywhere tobacco smoking is illegal. You cannot smoke cannabis within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare center, or youth center when children are present.

Owners can prohibit cannabis use on private property, including apartments. Check your lease agreement before smoking cannabis in your apartment.

Cannabis cannot be smoked or used by drivers or passengers in a motor vehicle. Marijuana must be transported in a sealed container or in the vehicle's trunk.

California Caregiver Laws

California allows patients to designate a primary caregiver to purchase and possess medical marijuana on their behalf. To qualify as a primary caregiver, you must be consistently responsible for the housing, health, or safety of a qualifying medical marijuana patient.

Primary caregivers must be at least 18 years old, an emancipated minor, or the parent of a child who is a qualified patient. Owners and employees of licensed inpatient clinics, long-term care facilities, hospices, or home health agencies may apply to be caregivers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a California medical marijuana card cost?

The total cost of your card will depend on your county of residence. While California sets the laws and regulations at the state level, card applications are handled by each county government. The maximum you can pay in California is $100. If you are Medi-Cal eligible, the maximum cost is $50.

How old do I have to be to apply for a medical marijuana card in California?

Anyone over 18 years old can apply for a medical marijuana card as a qualified patient or serve as a caregiver for a qualified patient.

Patients under 18 can obtain a medical marijuana card from their county with their parent or legal guardian's consent. Guardians of qualified minors may apply as primary caregivers.

A patient under 18 can apply for a card as a qualified patient without a caregiver if they are legally emancipated or declare self-sufficiency status. County health departments may require additional documentation in such cases.

Do I have to be a California resident to get a California medical marijuana card?

Yes--you must apply for your card from the county in which you reside. Your application will require proof of residency. Check with your local government to verify its acceptable forms of residence verification.

Can I use my California medical cannabis outside of the state?

It depends. Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Utah accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards to varying legal extents.

When traveling, you must follow the regulations and possession limits of the state(s) you visit, not California’s. Research these laws before traveling to verify the eligibility criteria of your destination.

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in California, do I still need a medical marijuana card?

Only adults over 21 years old can purchase cannabis in California without a written recommendation from a doctor. You can only purchase and possess marijuana that exceeds the bounds of the state’s recreational laws with a medical marijuana identification card (MMIC). In addition, cannabis purchases are only tax-exempt if you have a marijuana card.

Does the state of California offer reciprocity for out-of-state residents?

No--California does not accept out-of-state medical marijuana ID cards. Still, recreational users over 21 years old can purchase up to 1 ounce of cannabis or 8 grams of concentrate under the state’s recreational marijuana law.