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If you are asking yourself, “Can I go to a dispensary without a medical card?” The answer is yes. To purchase marijuana in the state of California, you will just need to have a valid ID to prove you are over the age of 21.

While you may not need to have a medical card to purchase marijuana, it might be a good idea to have one. If you are struggling with various medical conditions, you can qualify for a medical card.

Can I Go to a Dispensary Without a Medical Card?

Can you buy at a dispensary without a medical card? Yes, you can purchase from and go to a dispensary without a medical card. In California, all you will need to purchase marijuana at a dispensary is a valid government-issued ID to prove you are at least age 21.

Other states that allow you to purchase marijuana legally at a dispensary are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington.

However, cities in California have the right to create and enforce rules regarding the distribution, cultivation, and sale of marijuana. This includes the possibility that specific strains of marijuana are only dispensed to medical patients.

Do You Need a Medical Card for a Dispensary?

Can you go in a medical dispensary without a card? From 1996 to 2016, you needed a medical card to purchase marijuana from a dispensary. But thanks to a new state law passed in November 2016, adults aged 21 and older are now able to possess, cultivate, and consume marijuana recreationally.

This law also limited adults to possess eight grams of concentrated cannabis, one ounce of cannabis, and cultivate up to six plants. Today in California, there are still strict rules in place regarding the consumption and transportation of marijuana.

Should You Have a Medical Card?

Do you need a medical card to enter a dispensary? While you do not need one, a medical card can be beneficial. If you are living with a chronic medical condition, or are struggling with anxiety, consider getting a medical card. It will not prevent you from using recreational marijuana to help ease these issues.

However, medical marijuana tends to have a higher ratio of CBD, which will help to relieve pain more quickly than recreational marijuana. This high-CBD ratio is especially helpful with muscle soreness, chronic pain, or aching joints. Some dispensaries have marijuana strictly for those with medical cards, as they have different strains that are not recommended for recreational use.

Medical cards are issued by the Department of Public Health, and have a fee of $100 yearly or $50 with proof of Med-Cal benefits. There are many benefits that come from having a medical marijuana card.

Having a medical card in California will allow you the right to grow cannabis plants, have dried cannabis in your possession, and purchase marijuana at an authorized dispensary. To qualify for a medical marijuana card, your doctor will need to recommend the use of marijuana for your medical condition.

Some common medical conditions that qualify for a medical card are anxiety disorders, depression, chronic pain, seizures, loss of appetite, insomnia, migraines, inflammatory conditions, and arthritis.

Getting medical marijuana

Where Can You Consume Marijuana Legally?

It is illegal in California to consume marijuana in public places and within 1,000 feet of a youth center, school bus, or school. However, if you are consuming marijuana in your private residence and it is undetected, the rule of being 1,000 feet away from children does not apply.

Property owners can ban the use of marijuana on private property. If you rent, be sure you know if there are any restrictions in your rental agreement for the use of marijuana. You cannot consume marijuana while driving or riding in a car, which is very similar to the rules and restrictions regarding alcohol consumption.

Also, you cannot have an unsealed container of marijuana in your car, unless you are keeping it in your trunk. Even though you are in a state that legalizes the use of marijuana, you still cannot consume it in national parks, travel with it on a plane, or cross state lines. If you do not comply with these rules, you can be arrested under federal law.

Can You Bring Children Inside of a Dispensary?

Most dispensaries in California do not allow you to bring children, infants, or anyone under the age of 21 into the dispensary. There could be exceptions for medical patients, depending on the dispensary. Dispensaries are trying to protect children from the advertisement of marijuana, especially if they are older.

Dispensaries You Don’t Need a Medical Card For

Most dispensaries in California will allow you to shop without a medical card. However, some dispensaries might require you to show a medical card for certain purchases. If you shop at Embarc, you do not need a medical card to shop – just a valid ID. Embarc offers a variety of flower, oils, edibles, and other forms of cannabis.

Things to Keep in Mind

There are some important things to know regarding marijuana in California:

    • You can order delivery from some dispensaries within legal operating hours
    • Delivery fees from dispensaries typically cost between $5 and $10
    • THC levels in edibles are capped at 100mg THC per package and 10mg THC per dose
    • All marijuana products sold in California have a 15 percent excise tax
    • Individuals over the age of 18 with a medical card can purchase from a dispensary

Final Thoughts

Whether or not you have a medical card, purchasing marijuana at a California dispensary is legal. If you are looking for one of the best dispensaries in California, consider shopping at Embarc.

Click here to find an Embarc location closest to you.