Medical Marijuana Identification Card - Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Proposition 215 (Prop 215)?

In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Proposition 215 was passed to give seriously ill Californians the right to posses and use marijuana for medical purposes, when they have a recommendation from a physician.  Proposition 215 also gives the patient’s primary caregiver the right to cultivate and possess medical marijuana for the patient. Proposition 215 defines a “primary caregiver” as “the designated individual who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of the medical marijuana user.”

What Is the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program (MMICP)?

The MMICP is a program of the State of California that was established following the passage of SB 420 that requires counties to administer a voluntary card registration program that identifies medical marijuana patients.

What Serious Medical Condition(s) Do I Need to Have to Qualify for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC)?

A serious medical condition, as defined by SB 420, is any of the following: AIDS; anorexia; arthritis; cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; glaucoma; migraine; persistent muscle spasms; seizures; severe nausea; and any other chronic or a persistent medical symptom that substantially limits a person’s ability to conduct one or more of major life activities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities act of 1990. Also any symptom that if not alleviated may cause serious harm to the person’s safety, physical, or mental health.

Why Should I Apply for a MMIC?

Applying for an MMIC is voluntary. No one has to carry one, however, any person in possession of a valid MMIC shall NOT be subject to arrest by any California Law Enforcement Agency for possession, transportation, delivery, or cultivation of medical marijuana in the amount allowed by SB 420 (unless there is reasonable cause to believe that the MMIC is false or falsified, the card was obtained by fraud, or the person is otherwise in violation of SB 420).

How Long Will It Take to Get My MMIC?

Processing time can take up to 35 days once the application is accepted. If any information or documents are missing, this may delay processing your application. If this is the case, the Sacramento County Division of Public Health will contact you within 30 days from the day you submit your application to let you know what documents or information is missing.

What Happens to My Application and Other Private Health Information After I Give It to My County’s MMICP?

Your application will be kept confidential and secure. We will only release your application if you give us written permission to do so. This includes appeals of denied applications to the state Medical Marijuana Program (MMP). (The Appeals Form has a declaration and signature block regarding this release).

Do I Have to Be a Sacramento County Resident in Order to Receive an MMIC?

No, any California Resident that is a qualified patient can apply for an MMIC; however, you must apply for your MMIC in the county where you reside.  Proof of residency is required.

Can I Obtain My Recommendation from an Out-of-County Physician?

Yes, the attending physician must have a license in good standing issued by the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, but there are no residency requirements for the physician.

Is a Medical Marijuana Recommendation Considered a Prescription?

No. Marijuana has no FDA approval as a medication.  Since marijuana is not recognized as legal by the federal government, federal law criminalizes the use of medical marijuana.

Is There a Fee for Applying for a MMIC?

Yes, in Sacramento County the fee is $100, for each MMIC issued. Proof of participation in the Medi-Cal program, presented at the time of application, qualifies a Medi-Cal beneficiary to receive a 50% reduction in fees.  If the applicant qualifies for this fee reduction and is designating a primary caregiver, the fee for the primary caregiver’s MMIC will also be reduced by 50%.

Can I Get My Application Fee Refunded If I Do Not Qualify?

No, application fees are not refundable.

Do I Need to Make an Appointment?

Yes, appointments are necessary. Walk-in clients cannot be accommodated. Appointments will be scheduled for Mondays and Fridays between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm. You can schedule an appointment by calling (916) 875-2066 any time during the work week.

What Do I Need to Bring to My Appointment to Make Sure My Application Is Complete?

A completed original MMIC application (not a photocopy) Application Renewal Form (CDPH 9042).

Applications are available 3 ways:

  • You may download from Application Form site.
  • You may pick up an application at our office.
  • You may request that we mail you an application by calling (916) 875-2066.
  1. Government issued photo identification (i.e. California State Driver’s License, a California State ID Card, a United States Passport, or a Veteran’s Administration ID Card).

  2. Proof that you live in Sacramento County. Such proof could be the current photo IDs listed above; a recent utility bill; a recent rental or mortgage payment receipt with your name and physical address.

  3. Written documentation completed by your physician that states that you have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition and that the medical use of marijuana is appropriate, or a completed Form CDPH 9044-Written Documentation of patient’s Medical Records. The medical condition is NOT to be listed. (Your physician will be contacted to confirm that the medical documentation submitted is a true and correct copy of your medical records in the physician’s office. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that an Authorized Release of Medical Information is on file with their medical provider).

  4. Your physician’s name, contact information, and California Medical License number.

  5. Non-refundable payment in the amount of $100 ($50 if you have proof of Medi-Cal benefits). All payment types are accepted. There is a 2.29% (minimum $1.95) convenience fee when using a credit card and a $1.95 convenience fee when using a debit card.

  6. Current Medi-Cal card if you are a Medi-Cal beneficiary.

  7. Emancipated minors must present all of the above and proof of emancipation. Non-emancipated minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

  8. Your photo will be taken at the time of application.

 The primary caregiver, if any, will need to provide:

  1. Completed appropriate sections of the Application Renewal Form-CDPH 9042. Including the written statement documenting how the primary caregiver consistently assumes responsibility for the housing, health or safety of the patient.

  2. Government issued photo identification (i.e. California State Driver’s License, a California State ID Card, a United States Passport, or a Veteran’s Administration ID Card).

  3. Proof of residency in the state of California.

  4. An additional non-refundable payment in the amount of $100 ($50 if the patient has proof of Medi-Cal benefits). All payment types are accepted. There is a 2.29% (minimum $1.95) convenience fee when using a credit card and a $1.95 convenience fee when using a debit card.

  5. An emancipated minor must present all of the above and proof of emancipation. Non-emancipated minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

  6. Your photo will be taken at the time of application.

  7. If an applicant is applying as a primary caregiver, both the primary caregiver and the qualified Patient must be present at the time of submission of the primary caregiver’s application.

Can I Have More Than One Primary Caregiver?

Yes. But only if your primary caregiver is the owner or operator of a facility providing medical care and/or supportive services to a qualified patient, he/she can designate no more than three employees as caregivers.

Can a Primary Caregiver Care for More Than One Patient at a Time?

Yes. However, if an individual has been designated as the primary caregiver by two or more qualified patients, the primary caregiver and all the qualified patients must reside in the same city or county.

Can I Have a Caregiver That Lives out of County?

Yes. The primary caregiver must prove California residency and is further restricted to being the primary caregiver for only that patient.

What If My Application Is Denied?

You will receive a denial notice from the County of Sacramento you may appeal this denial to the California Department of Public Health within 30 calendar days from the date of your denial notice.

Is My MMIC Recognized out of County?

Yes, this is a statewide identification program.

Does the Sacramento County Division of Public Health Issue MMIC to Residents of Other Counties?

No. In accordance with State regulation, the Sacramento County Division of Public Health can only issue cards to residents of Sacramento County.

Does Carrying a Valid MMIC Protect Me from Prosecution for Possession of Marijuana?

No. Possession and distribution of marijuana is a federal offense and individuals in California who posses marijuana for medical purposes have been prosecuted. In addition, individuals in possession of marijuana in quantities larger than determined by local law enforcement for personal medical use have been arrested and prosecuted.

What MMIC Cardholder Personal Information Will Be Available to Law Enforcement?

When the MMIC unique identification number is entered through the MMIC website, a “Valid Card” or “Invalid Card” response is generated. No other information is accessible.

Can a Minor Apply for a Card?

Yes, a minor can apply as a patient or caregiver. If a minor is applying as a qualified patient, they must be lawfully emancipated or of declared self-sufficiency status. If neither, the minor’s parent, legal guardian, or person with legal authority to make medical decisions for the minor applicant must complete Section 2 of the Medical Marijuana Program Application. If a minor is applying as a primary caregiver, they must meet additional requirements including:

  • Being consistently responsible for the housing, health, or safety of a qualified patient, or
  • Being the parent of a minor child who is a qualified patient.
What Information Will Appear on the Card?
  • Photo of the cardholder
  • Designation of “Patient” or “Primary Caregiver”
  • A unique user identification number issued by California Department of Public Health
  • Expiration date
  • Name and telephone number of the Sacramento County Division of Public Health that approved the application
  • A Web-based Internet URL that will enable state and local law enforcement officers to have immediate access to verify the validity of the card. 

How Long Will a MMIC Be Valid?

Qualified patient and primary caregiver cards are valid for one year from date of issue. If the primary caregiver applies for a card at a later date than the patient's MMIC, the primary caregiver MMIC will have the same expiration date as the patient's MMIC.

Are Medical Marijuana Users and Their Primary Caregivers Required to Enroll in the MMIC?

No. Enrollment in the MMIC is voluntary. Sacramento County offers this program as a service to people who wish to have the convenience of a credit card-sized photo ID card that indicates they qualify as a medical marijuana user or primary caregiver under Proposition 215.

What Do I Need to Do to Get a New Card if My Card Expires or If It Is Lost or Stolen?

To get a new card, you must apply again, following the same procedures listed above. We recommend that you keep a record of the physician’s recommendation form/letter so that you can use this for your second application.

What Do I Do If I Am Questioned by a Police Officer About My Use of Medical Marijuana?

Show him/her your card as proof that you qualify for use of medicinal marijuana under Proposition 215.

Where Do I Go to Get an Application?

Applications can be obtained on-line or by calling (916) 875-2066 to have an application mailed or at our office located below:

Public Health Division of the Department of Health and Human Services
Office of Vital Records
7001 East Parkway, Suite 650
Sacramento, CA 95823