Friday January 11, 2019

By Matthew Mongelia

How to Renew Your Colorado Medical Marijuana Card Education

The State of Colorado Medical Marijuana registry has undergone a few changes over the past few years, and if you haven’t renewed yours in a while, some things may have changed.  The biggest difference from past years is that paper cards are no longer issued as a standard, and are replaced by digital documents instead.  To get you familiarized with the new system, we’ve complied a quick and easy guide to renewing your registration with the state.

If you’re interested in applying for a Colorado medical marijuana card for the first time, check out our helpful guide!

Check Eligibility

Chances are, if you’re looking to renew, you’re already aware of your eligibility status. Thus, this step is usually reserved for new patients. However, everyone’s circumstances are unique, so if you’re uncertain whether your eligibility status has changed or not, be sure to double check with the list of eligible ailments. That list is available for reference here.

Gather Documents

For essentials, you’ll need:

MMJ Card Essentials

  • A valid CO state ID or Driver’s License
  • Your Social Security number
  • Payment method
    • Either a credit/debit card or your bank account and routing information

Beyond the items above, gather any medical documentation relevant to your medical cannabis evaluation beforehand. Dredging up paperwork can be one of the most frustrating parts of renewing your medical cannabis card. Using the same doctor can be useful for anyone with a chronic condition, as they can keep your paperwork on file for reference and usually avoid having you bring it back each subsequent visit. However, if any new medical documents pertinent to your condition have arisen in the past year, be sure to bring a copy for the doctor. If you are in the industry, many places will give a discount with proof, so be sure to bring your MED badge if this applies to you.

Make an Appointment

With documentation out of the way, you’ll want to go ahead and set up an appointment with a doctor for consultations. There are a myriad of good options available in the Denver area and throughout the state. Cohen Medical Center is a favorite for many of the PotGuide staff, and Doc Morrison also comes highly recommended. Whomever you choose, make sure it’s someone you’re comfortable with. Healthcare is a personal matter and you should feel at ease with the people responsible for your care.

Be On Time

On Time
It's very important to be on time for your appointment with the medical marijuana doctor. photo credit

After making your appointment with a doctor, be sure to arrive a little early to take care of paperwork just like any other doctor’s visit. Remember that it will always take slightly longer than anticipated. Once through paper work, the nitty-gritty is usually quick and simple. A clinic worker or the doctor will take some base vital information (usually blood pressure and weight). Then, you will discuss with the doctor your medical needs with cannabis. Other than being there on time, remember to have any relevant payment and documentation ready to go as well.

Start the Renewal Process in Your Medical Marijuana Registry Account

If you’ve applied by mail in the past, you’ll need to create an account with the state of Colorado, log in and fill out all the necessary patient information. Your application will then be processed as a renewal. If you have an account with the state registry already, simply log in and click on your name in the patient information section to start the renewal process.

Upload Necessary Documents

After your evaluation, you’ll need to upload your new physician’s recommendation and any other relevant documents to the system (for example if you have a designated caretaker, or documentation regarding extended plant count). Most evaluation centers will help walk you through this step after your visit with the physician. If you are unsure about this step, be sure to ask for assistance before leaving your doctor’s office.

Enter Cultivation Information

Home Grow
If you want to grow your entire plant count yourself, you'll need to denote it in the cultivation information. photo credit

Once you’ve uploaded your physician’s recommendation you will need to enter your cultivation information. You can choose to grow your own plants, have a dispensary or caregiver grow them for you, or split your plant count between yourself and a center. You can always change your selection down the road as well!

Payment

You’ll need to pay the doctor for their assessment, as well as a $25 processing fee to the state for the renewal. Doctor’s fees will vary depending on the establishment, usually between $60-$120, and sometimes more for evaluations involving extended plant counts. Make sure you have all funds ready ahead of time as different offices might ask for payment at different times during the process.

Wait for Approval

After all the required information has been submitted and payment has been collected, your application will be sent to the state for approval. This usually takes 1-2 business days – rarely more, and sometimes less.  Despite the new faster delivery times, it is still best to renew your card before it fully expires to avoid any lapses in coverage.

The state will send you a notification to the email you provided in your profile when your medical marijuana card is approved. Be sure to use an email you check actively and have easy access to.

Retrieve and Save

When you get the notification email saying your card is approved, you’ll need to log back into your registry account and save a copy of your card. Upon logging back in, on your profile there should be a new message. Use the link to activate your new card and print or make a digital copy of your newly issued card.

It is usually a good idea to print off one hard copy, as many dispensaries require this for the first time a medical patient uses their services. A hard copy is also usually checked when assigning one’s allocated medical plants over to a dispensary to grow, and is a good document to have in a safe place in your home should proof of medical need ever be required in a legal situation. However, should you ever lose that copy, you can always retrieve it from your profile.

While the process can be frustrating to repeat year to year, it is usually only a mild inconvenience. Admittedly, fixing any problems that arise can be incredibly frustrating as the state provides no physical, public facing entity to address. The move to electronic documentation has greatly reduced the incidence of issues and wait times, but in any bureaucratic system, glitches happen, and can leave people in need without. Make sure you follow all the steps above to ensure a smooth renewal process every time!


Do you have any tips or tricks for renewing your medical marijuana card in Colorado? Share them in the comments below!


Matthew Mongelia Matthew Mongelia

Matthew Mongelia is a freelance writer hailing from Miami, Florida and now hangs his many hats in Denver. Matthew is the co-creator of the comic Dark Beach, and an avid enthusiast of chocolate and short fiction.


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