California’s New Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program

Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program

The California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program (MMICP) was specifically established to create a State-authorized medical marijuana identification card (MMICP), along with a registry database for verification of qualified patients and their primary caregivers. Participation by patients and primary caregivers in this identification card program is voluntary. The MMICP Web-based registry allows law enforcement and the public to verify the validity of a qualified patient or primary caregiver’s MMICP as authorization to possess, grow, transport, and/or use medical marijuana within California.

The verification website is available on the internet.


New Laws and Medical Marijuana 

In 2015, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law three bills (Assembly Bill 243,  Assembly Bill 266, and Senate Bill 643) that creates a licensing and regulatory framework for medical marijuana.

For more information on medical marijuana, email the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Consumer Information Center at or call (800)-952-5210.  You can also refer to the California Bureau of Cannabis Control  for both consumers and business licenses.

The CDPH Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) is currently required to develop statewide standards, regulations, licensing procedures, and to address policy issues in support of medical cannabis manufacturers and testing laboratories. CDPH is responsible for issuing Type 6 and Type 7 licenses to manufacturers of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products and Type 8 licenses to testing labs. This is the MCSB’s website.


Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program Fees

All administrative costs for the Medical Marijuana Program at the county level are fee supported.

Proposition 64, Section 5.3 (Amended Health and Safety Code Section 11362.755 November 8, 2016) requires the County Health Department to establish application fees for persons seeking to obtain, renew or replace identification cards.

Proposition 64 removed language authorizing CDPH to collect fees from the County’s program. County programs may charge an amount not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100) per Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) application or renewal, give a fifty percent reduction per card for Medi-Cal eligible applicants, and the fees shall be waived for indigent patients who are eligible for and participate in the County Medical Services Program. The counties have authority to cover their expenses through the application fees; therefore, established fees will vary by county. Please contact your county program to find out what the total cost for a MMIC is.


Roles and Responsibilities


Dispensaries, Cooperatives and Collectives

The California Department of Public Health administers the Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) program only and does not have any information regarding dispensaries, growing collectives, etc. Please go to the State Attorney General’s Office guidelines site (PDF).According to Senate Bill 420: “This bill authorize(s) the Attorney General to set forth and clarify details concerning possession and cultivation limits, and other regulations. The bill also authorize(s) the Attorney General to recommend modifications to the possession or cultivation limits set forth in the bill. The bill require(s) the Attorney General to develop and adopt guidelines to ensure the security and nondiversion of marijuana grown for medical use, as specified.”

Patient (Applicant) Responsibilities

Only patients or their legal representatives may apply for a card for themselves and/or their primary caregivers. Because of this, patients are also known as “applicants.” The patient or applicant is a person diagnosed with a serious medical condition for which the medical use of marijuana is appropriate. These serious medical conditions are: acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS); anorexia; arthritis; cachexia (wasting syndrome); cancer; chronic pain; glaucoma; migraine; persistent muscle spasms (i.e., spasms associated with multiple sclerosis); seizures (i.e., epileptic seizures); severe nausea; any other chronic or persistent medical condition that limits the ability of the patient to conduct one or more major life activities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the patient’s safety, physical, or mental health. As an applicant, it is your responsibility to ensure you meet these criteria before continuing with the application process. Your responsibilities are:Residency

  • You must be a resident of the county where you apply for the MMP.
  • You must provide proof of residency when you submit your completed application.
  • Proof of residency can be any of the following items: a copy of a rental or mortgage agreement, or utility bill listing your name and physical address within the county; or a DMV issued motor vehicle registration listing your name and physical address within the county.
  • In the case of a minor applicant who is neither emancipated nor self-sufficient, and does not possess proof of county residence in his or her own name, any of the previously mentioned forms of residency evidence belonging to the parent or legal guardian is sufficient proof of residency, if they are residents of the same county.

Proof of Identity

  • You must bring proof-of-identity when you submit your application.
  • The county program will request a copy of a valid “government-issued photographic identification card” issued to you. Your California driver’s license or a California Identification (ID) Card is an example of an ID that satisfies this requirement.
  • Minor applicants without a government issued photo ID may use a certified copy of their birth certificate.

Physicians Recommendation

  • You must have a copy of written documentation contained in your medical records from your physician (medical doctor or osteopath) stating that you have a serious medical condition and that the medical use of marijuana is appropriate.
  • Your physician may use the Written Documentation of Patient’s Medical Records (PDF) to satisfy this requirement.

County Program Photographing

  • Your county program will take a digital photo of you and any primary caregiver you may designate at the time you submit your application.
  • The photo taken will appear on your MMIC.


  • Be ready to pay the application fee when you submit your application.
  • Applicants who are Medi-Cal beneficiaries qualify for a 50 percent reduction for their own card and primary caregiver’s card, if any.  Your county program will verify your Medi-Cal participation.

Completing the Application

  • You must submit a complete and accurate application.  Omitting required information or answering inaccurately are grounds for a denial.
  • Sign and date the required sections.


  • Generally, the MMIC expires within one year (with certain exceptions).
  • It is up to you to apply for a renewal.
  • The renewal process is the same as the application process.
  • You must submit current medical information with your Application/Renewal Form (PDF)

If Applying for a Primary Caregiver

  • If you designate a primary caregiver, make sure your caregiver is not already serving as a designated primary caregiver to another qualified patient in a different county.
  • If you, as the applicant, are a Medi-Cal beneficiary, the fee for your primary caregiver’s card will also be discounted 50 percent.
  • Be sure your primary caregiver completes, signs, and dates their portion of the Application/Renewal Form.


  • If you choose to appeal a denied application, it is your responsibility to appeal the denial of your card and/or your primary caregiver’s card, if any.
  • Appeals must be postmarked within 30 calendar days from the date on the notice of a denied application.
  • Please see the Appeals section for more information on appealing a county denial.

Other Responsibilities

  • If you change physicians, you must notify the county program within seven days.
  • If you change primary caregivers, you must notify your county program within seven days of the change, and you must instruct your former primary caregiver to turn in their MMIC to the county program for confidential destruction.
  • It is your responsibility to use your MMIC only for the purposes intended by the law.
  • You will need to authorize your physician to release medical information to the county program.  Your county program cannot process your application without this authorization.

Primary Caregiver Responsibilities

A primary caregiver is a person who consistently assumes the responsibility for the housing, health or safety of the applicant (patient). This may be an individual or the owner, operator or employee of an appropriately licensed clinic, facility, hospice, or home health agency. As a primary caregiver you cannot apply for a card for yourself. Your patient must apply for you. Your responsibilities are:

  • Provide proof of identity. See “Proof of Identity” under “Applicant(Patient) Responsibilities.”
  • Be prepared to be photographed. See “County Program Photographing” under “Applicant(Patient) Responsibilities.”
  • Complete and sign the “Primary Caregiver Declaration” portion of the Application/Renewal Form.
  • If you work for more than one qualified patient you must reside in the same county.
  • If you no longer work for a qualified patient, you must return your MMIC for confidential destruction to the county program that issued the card to you.

Physician Responsibilities

The physician caring for the qualified patient must fulfill the following criteria and responsibilities:

  • Possess a license to practice medicine or osteopathy in California issued by the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California.  This license must be in good standing.
  • Take responsibility for an aspect of the medical care, treatment, diagnosis, counseling, or referral of the applicant (patient).
  • Perform a medical examination of the applicant (patient).
  • As a result of the medical examination, document in the patient’s medical record that the patient has a serious medical condition and that the medical use of marijuana is appropriate.
  • Have the patient sign an authorized medical release of information.  The county program cannot process the patient’s application without the appropriate authorization for release of medical information.
  • Provide to the patient copies of the medical records stating that he or she has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition and that the medical use of marijuana is appropriate. You may use the Written Documentation of Patient’s Medical Records (PDF) form to serve this purpose (a copy must be kept in the patient’s medical record).

Legal Representative Responsibilities

The legal representative is a person authorized to act on behalf of a patient who cannot make medical decisions for themselves. The legal representative can be any of the following: a conservator with authority to make medical decisions; an attorney-in-fact under a durable power of attorney for health care; a surrogate decision maker authorized under another advanced health care directive; any other individual authorized by statutory or decisional law to make medical decisions for the person. This can be the parent, legal guardian, or person or entity with legal authority to make medical decisions for a minor. If you are acting on behalf of an applicant who cannot make medical decisions for themselves, you should read and be aware of all aspects of the application process. Your responsibilities are:

  • Provide proof of identity for yourself and the applicant (patient). See “Proof of Identity” under “Applicant/Patient Responsibilities.”
  • Provide proof of legal representation for the applicant (patient). This may include a living will, power of attorney for health care, advanced health care directive, or a court-issued document showing conservatorship.
  • For other application information, please see “Applicant (Patient) Responsibilities”.
  • If you are also acting as the applicant (patient’s) primary caregiver, you will need to refer to “Primary Caregiver Responsibilities”.

County Responsibilities

  • Identify the governmental or nongovernmental organization that is designated to carry out Program responsibilities as directed by the county.
  • Establish county fee portion of application charges.
  • Utilize MMP protocols developed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
  • Provide, receive, and process applications for MMIC.
  • Take an electronically transmissible photo of the applicant (patient and/or primary caregiver) that meets criteria prescribed in the state protocols.
  • Collect application fees from applicants and transmit the State portion to the CDPH.
  • Utilize the Web-based system to transmit a limited amount of application information (e.g., designation of patient or primary caregiver, his or her photo, county or its designee and phone number, card expiration date, etc.) to CDPH’s card production and data repository system.
  • Receive state produced ID cards and issue them to the cardholders
  • Maintain various county records of the MMP.
  • Comply with timeline requirements of SB 420 and CDPH protocols and regulations.

State Responsibility

  • Develop policies, procedures, protocols, regulations, and forms.
  • Establish State fees sufficient to reimburse start-up and ongoing costs.
  • Establish a uniform application process, an ID card production system, and a data repository for card verifications, through the development of a Web-based system that will:

◦ Ensure information security through the use of protected firewalls and assigned User IDs and Passwords,

◦ Collect and report application information entered by counties or their designees,

◦ Assign unique card identification numbers,

◦ Provide access by a state-contracted card printing vendor to produce the ID cards, and

◦ Allow immediate access for the verification of the ID cards by law enforcement officials and others.

  • Establish a denied application appeal process
  • Comply with timeline requirement of Senate Bill 420

Medical Marijuana Forms

CDPH 9042 (PDF) – ​Medical Marijuana Program Application/Renewal
CDPH 9042 SP (PDF) – Medical Marijuana Program Application/Renewal (Spanish Version)
CDPH 9043 (PDF) – Denial Appeals Application
CDPH 9043 SP (PDF) – Denial Appeals Application (Spanish Version)
CDPH 9044 (PDF) – Written Documentation of Patient’s Medical Records
CDPH 9044 SP (PDF) – Written Documentation of Patient’s Medical Records (Spanish Version)

MMP Frequently Asked Questions

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) administers the Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) program. The Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) was established to provide a voluntary medical marijuana identification card issuance and registry program for qualified patients and their caregivers.



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