Alternative Care Clinics - Southern California
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Patient FAQ's

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Q- How do I become a legal patient in California?
A- Under California law, you must have a recommendation or approval for the medical use of cannabis from a licensed physician. A physician may write a recommendation for any condition for which cannabis provides relief. However, most physicians write recommendations for symptoms associated with AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and many other serious illnesses.

Q- Once I am a qualified patient will I receive a card?
A- Yes, if you qualify you will be issued a voluntary Medical Marijuana Patient Verification Card.
Q- Do I have to get the Medical Marijuana Patient Verification Card?
A-  No, our card is voluntary. Qualified patients will also receive a written recommendation to act as proof of their medical evaluation.  
Q- What if I change my mind and I decide to come back and get the card at another time?
A- No problem, the card is designed to serve you.  You can come back and get a card made during office hours. 
Q. What are the advantages of getting the Voluntary Medical Marijuana Patient Verification Card?
A- The advantages are numerous.  The card fits conveniently in your pocket and is made of high quality, super durable plastic that’s made to last. The card also contains a unique, ultra patented, anti-forgery system, making this card nearly impossible to duplicate. In some ways the card will make the paper recommendations obsolete. The card will act as photo verification for the card holder. This will let law enforcement or dispensaries know that the patient is a legitimate and legal medical marijuana patient under Prop 215 by HS 11362.5.
Q- I know that most doctor’s offices are not open at night. What happens if my status as a patient needs to be verified after the ACC office closes?
A- To better service our patients, we offer online patient verification available any time, 365 days a year. Our online patient verification program allows for quick, convenient and secure online patient verifications 24/7. If you choose to call or get verified by phone our offices are open 7 days a week Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 11am-7pm, and Sun 10am-5pm.
Q. Is this the CA State medical marijuana card?
A- No, with the exception of a few counties in Northern California, Los Angeles and Riverside County in Southern California, the state is not currently offering a medical marijuana card in counties not listed above. This card was created by ACC to simplify the verification process. Now patients have a safe and convenient way to hold their recommendations in their wallet or pocket. 
Q- Can I be evaluated at ACC if I’m not 18 years old or older?
A- No, you must be at least 18 years or older with valid proof of age and identification in order to qualify.
Q- Once I’m a legal Prop215 medical marijuana patient, what new rights do I have?
A- After obtaining your recommendation, you are legally entitled to grow, possess, consume, and transport cannabis as your medicine. This is only a California state law; the federal government does not recognize medical marijuana.

Q- I just failed a drug test. If I get a recommendation now, will it help me?

A- No, a recommendation from a doctor is valid only from the date written; therefore it would not relate to any past court dates or drug tests. A recomendation cannot and will not be backdated.

Q- My job drug tests employees. Can my boss fire me if he finds out that I use cannabis as a legal patient?
A- At Alternative Care Clinics we recommend that if you have questions regarding job drug testing, you should discuss those concerns with your employer or the Human Resources department. Ultimately, even if you are a legal medical marijuana patient in California, the status of your job after drug testing is up to your employer.

Q- Once I get my recommendation from a physician what do I do with it?
A- Keep the original copy of your physician’s letter of recommendation in a safe place. You may need it to prove your legal status following any encounter with law enforcement. You may also need it to obtain membership or to enter one of California’s many medical cannabis dispensaries. You should carry a photocopy of your recommendation or patient verification card whenever you carry your medicine.

Q- If I'm a medical marijuana patient and I failed a drug test at work, what should I do?
A- Let your employer know that you are a legal patient under Proposition 215 Health and Safety Code 11362.5 and Senate Bill 420. Show him or her a copy of the laws if necessary. This situation is between the patient and the employer. It is up to the employer's discretion whether or not it would affect that patient's employment status. For more information please visit the Americans for Safe Access website at, or the CA NORML chapter at Many patients consult a lawyer for legal advice.

Q- If I get a medical marijuana recommendation will my name be on a state or government list?
A- No, the physician keeps a copy of your records and you receive an original letter of recommendation and a copy.  Your records remain safe and confidential with us.  Your records can ONLY be released with your written consent.  We DO NOT report patients to any state or federal agencies.  

Q- How many plants can I grow once I become a medical marijuana patient?
A- The number of plants and quantity of medication you can possess varies from city to city. If your city or county does not have a higher limit, you may possess eight ounces of dried cannabis, six mature plants, or up to twelve immature plants. No city or county may adopt limits lower than these. We recommend that you check (SB420) for your local guidelines. 

Q- I’ve heard that the federal government does not recognize medical marijuana in California, is that true?
A- Yes, what you heard is correct. The federal government does not recognize California’s medical cannabis laws. Cannabis possession, cultivation, and use are illegal under federal law – even for qualified patients. The State however does support the use of medical marijuana as an alternative treatment and California’s medical cannabis laws remain fully in force and unaffected by this conflict.

Q- Will medical insurance companies cover the cost of my evaluation and the cost of my medicine?
A- Unfortunately, at this time, medical insurance companies will not cover any of your evaluation or your medicine cost.
Q- If I become a legal patient, where and how will I get my Cannabis or medicine?
A- Unfortunately, we cannot give out nor discuss any information regarding purchasing cannabis or medicine.
Q- I hear that there are a lot of dispensaries around California but I don’t know where they are, how do I find them?
A- We get this question often, and it’s a fair one. However, we cannot give out or discuss or give any information regarding purchasing cannabis or medicine.
Q- What if I’ve never seen a doctor, but I know that marijuana helps me with my condition? Should I still make an appointment?  
A- It is understandable that some patients have no medical history or just can't find their medical records. In this situation the doctor can still conduct the evaluation. Based on the physician's discretion, the physician may give you a temporary recommendation or ask you to fulfill certain requirements before one can be issued to you. If you cannot fulfill the requirements that the doctor requested you may be denied. For patients that are underinsured another option is to visit a free clinic in your area. Click here to find a free clinic
Q- If I just can’t get my paperwork, does that mean I won’t be recommended marijuana as my medicine?
A- It is completely up to the doctor to make the determination. A clinic manager or the physician may assist you in getting your medical records. The physician may give you a temporary recommendation or ask you to fulfill certain requirements. If you cannot fulfill the requirements that the doctor requested you may be denied.
Please make every effort to bring some kind of medical documentation to the clinic. This could include X-rays, MRI’s, prescriptions, physician letters, medications or any other documentation showing that you have been to a doctor and have been diagnosed with your condition.  
Q- How do I get my physician to send me my records?
A – You can follow these easy steps to get your medical records. Contact your physician or hospital where you received treatment. Inform them that you will be requesting your medical records. They will inform you on what steps you need to follow.  Typically, you will need to provide your physician with a written authorization to release your records. Ask for your physician’s fax number and fax your physician a release of medical records form.
Q- What if I receive a temporary recommendation will I have to pay again?
A- No, your initial fee covers one year of service with the physician. So you can come in for a follow up appointment up to one year at no cost to you.
Q-  Does local and state law enforcement recognize medical marijuana and its patients?
A- To the delight of medical marijuana supporters, the California Highway Patrol has agreed to stop taking cannabis from motorists in routine traffic stops who have a doctor's recommendation. Attorney General Bill Lockyer affirmed that medical marijuana use is sanctioned by  California law, despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.  CHP officers were told in an Aug. 22 bulletin of the new policy, which now allows patients traveling on state highways to have as much as 8 ounces of marijuana if they had a certified user identification card or written approval from a physician.

Q- I’m ready, how do I become a legal medical marijuana patient?
A- It’s easy, if you’re ready to make an appointment call 866-420-7215, or press the lets get started button. You can pick a clinic near you, where you can be seen by a physician specializing in medical marijuana.

Q- Are the Alternative Care Clinics clinic managers or their employees the actual doctors?
A- Although you will be able to be medically evaluated by a CA licensed physician, the employees of ACC and representatives are not physicians and do not practice medicine or dispense any medical advice. The ACC staff is there to support and help physicians administer a clinic.

Q- What is the online verification program that ACC offers?
A- Patients can now be verified 24 hours a day, 365 days a year using our new secure online patient verification program. This online verification program will allow law enforcement and co-ops to verify a patients’ status. The verification system is a quick, convenient and secure way for patients to be verified.

If you’re not ready, but you have lots of questions, please feel free to call us toll free at 866-420-7215 or contact us by email. We are always happy to help.


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