A recommendation (certification) consists of a doctor’s written statement that marijuana would be medically beneficial for the patient’s debilitating condition. It is not a marijuana prescription, as a prescription is legally defined as a written order to a licensed pharmacist to supply the drug Doja Dispensary . Marijuana prescriptions are impossible due to prescription drugs being subjected to extensive federal regulation.
This was the problem with Arizona’s initial 1996 approval, Prop 200. It was worded so as to require patients seeking marijuana to obtain two “prescriptions”. Because of that, the law was effectively dead.
Physicians who recommend marijuana medicinally are protected from federal prosecution so long as they don’t get involved with distribution or production. Thousands of doctors are recommending marijuana under state medical marijuana laws, and so far, no one has been punished by the federal government.
Patients may seek a certification from their general practitioner, however, he or she may not be willing to provide the recommendation. This could be based on fear of prosecution, or simply not knowing enough about it. If that happens, patients are legally within their right to receive a copy of their medical records and seek another doctor who is knowledgeable about medical marijuana.
States typically require recommendations come from a physician licensed to practice in that state. Arizona does this. Once the certification is obtained, the next step is to apply with the Arizona Department of Health Services for an Arizona Medical Marijuana ID Registry Card.