Current Affairs

State to state differences regarding what a medical cannabis card provides, Part 1: WA, OR, and CA

Written by Asia Mayfield

Image source: Feed the Birds


Washington became the first state to legalize adult use cannabis in 2012. The state’s medical program was born in 1998.


Medical cannabis applicants need to be state residents and have a qualifying condition to obtain their Medical Marijuana Authorization form.

Qualifying conditions include (but are not limited to):

  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/Aids
  • Anorexia

Patients under 18 need to have a parent or guardian’s approval. Both the child and the parent or guardian will be entered into the state’s medical cannabis database.


Patients and legal caregivers can purchase:

  • 3 ounces of cannabis flower
  • 21 grams of cannabis concentrate
  • 216 fluid ounces of cannabis-infused liquids
  • 48 ounces of cannabis-infused edibles.

Medical patients can grow up to four plants at home and possess up to eight ounces. If patients need more cannabis, they can get a doctor’s note allowing them to grow up to 15 plants and possess 16 ounces.

Out of State Tourists

Washington only honors medical cards issued by the state. However, adults aged 21 or older can legally purchase cannabis at adult-use dispensaries.


The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act was passed in 1998.


Oregon residents aged 18 and older can apply for a medical cannabis card. Patients need to have a qualifying condition and a doctor’s recommendation. Possible conditions include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Severe pain


Patients with a valid Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) card can purchase cannabis from recreational and medical dispensaries. Patients and their caregivers can purchase up to 8 ounces per transaction and 32 ounces per month.

The law allows authorized dispensaries to deliver cannabis to OMMP cardholders anywhere in the state, including areas where cannabis sales are prohibited.

At home, cardholders can possess:

  • 24 ounces of cannabis flower
  • 5 grams of cannabis concentrates
  • 72 fluid ounces of cannabis-infused liquids
  • 16 ounces of cannabis-infused edibles
  • 50 seeds
  • 4 immature plants

Out of State Tourists

Oregon does not have a reciprocity program. Patients are required to have a valid OMMP card to purchase medical cannabis. However, you don’t need to be a state resident to receive a card, and Oregon does have a legal, adult-use program.


Medical cannabis has been legal since 1996. The laws were updated when California’s Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act passed in 2016.


California patients aged 18 or older need to have a doctor’s recommendation to apply for medical cannabis cards. Doctors are free to prescribe cannabis for a wide range of conditions including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anorexia
  • Insomnia
  • Cancer


Patients can possess as much cannabis as they need to manage their condition. However, they can still be fined or arrested if they violate local cannabis laws in the county or city they reside.

Out of State Tourists

To enter a California medical dispensary, a patient needs a recommendation from a California doctor. An actual card isn’t required. Therefore, you don’t have to be a resident to get a recommendation.

About the author

Asia Mayfield

Asia Mayfield is a freelance writer who focuses on the cannabis industry. She can be reached at

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