Ask Kathy: Common Medical Card Questions Answered

ask kathy (1)

By Kathy McKenzie, CFNP, Balanced Health NM

Here are some of the common questions asked by those interested in applying for a New Mexico medical cannabis card for the first time this year:

How do I get started with a medical card?

Step 1: Check that you are eligible – this program is only available to residents of New Mexico with a valid NM ID or Driver’s License.

Step 2: Secure a copy of your medical records for a qualifying medical condition:

Qualifying Conditions (Only ONE needs to apply):

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Hepatitis C
  • Opioid Use Disorder
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Painful Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Anorexia (severe)/Cachexia
  • Hospice Care
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Cancer
  • Inclusion Body Myositis
  • Severe Chronic Pain
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Inflammatory Autoimmune mediated Arthritis
  • Spasmodic Torticollis
  • Damage to the Nervous Tissue of (Cervical Dystonia) the Spinal Cord
  • Intractable Nausea/Vomiting
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy
  • Epilepsy/Seizure Disorder
  • Lewy Body Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Friedreich’s Ataxia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Glaucoma
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Step 3: Meet with a medical provider, provide them with your ID and medical records, and complete the required application.

Step 4: The NM Department of Health (DOH) medical cannabis program will review and process your application. It may take up to 30 days once it is received by the DOH, plus 5 days mail time, to receive your cannabis card.

Step 5: Your card’s expiration date is in the lower, right-hand corner. There are also two annual verification dates. Your card remains active until the expiration date as long as you submit a renewal application by the annual verification date. You are required to submit an renewal application every year to keep your card active.

How much cannabis can I purchase?

Patients in the program can buy up to 425 units of cannabis and/or cannabis products over a rolling three-month period (or 90 days). Patients can buy dried flower and many other products like edibles, tinctures, and topicals. 

What is a “Unit”? For dried flower, 1 unit equals 1 gram. 425 units is about 15 ounces of dried flower product. For edibles, tinctures and topicals, 1 unit is 200 milligrams (or 0.2 grams) of THC. 

What is a “Rolling Three-Month Period”? The total cannabis units you can buy is 425 over the course of 90 days. It can include different items. For example, in a 90-day period, you might buy 80 units of dried flower, 75 units of tinctures, and 55 units of chocolate bars, and still have 215 units left. Your units are tracked every time you buy products from a dispensary. Units that you buy today will fall off your total unit count and return after 90 days.

While waiting for my card to process, how can I prepare?

1. Do some research as to how you would like to use cannabis, ie; edibles, flower, tinctures, topicals.

2. Become familiar with the strains of cannabis and how they work ie; indica – relaxing/sedating, sativa – energy, and hybrid – combination of the two.

3. Look into specific terpenes found within the strains to help manage your specific symptoms.

4. Check out this resource: Americans for Safe Access. 

What is the difference between a medical patient and adult recreational use?

Medical patients will have a medical cannabis card provided by DOH that allows them to purchase cannabis from a licensed medical cannabis dispensary tax free up to 425 units in an 90 day period.

Adult recreational use allows persons over 21 to purchase cannabis from a licensed recreational cannabis dispensary. These purchases do include a sales tax.

About Kathy

Kathy McKenzie, CFNP, has been providing medical care for over 20 years and loves being part of the medical cannabis industry. Kathy currently owns and operates Balanced Health NM, Everest’s partnered medical cannabis card provider.

Balanced Health NM is a fully-mobile, COVID-conscious option available at participating Everest dispensaries for scheduled appointments. Kathy also offers 100% virtual appointments—no in-person meeting required! 

Have a medical card question for Kathy? Email it to info@everestnm.com for a chance to be featured!

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