Spot Online Marijuana Recommendation Fraud

How to Spot Online Marijuana Recommendation Fraud?

icon  19 Sep, 2017  /  icon  0        Author: Chloe

Getting marijuana in California is ridiculously easy. All you need is a valid medical marijuana recommendation from a state-licensed physician, which is very simple to do. So simple, in fact, that hundreds of fraudsters are targeting those looking for legitimate recommendations online. Nobody wants to fall victim to a con job, but fortunately, spotting these swindles is also easy, if you know how.

In California, getting a recommendation only requires consulting with a certified doctor online and filling out the required paperwork. Within minutes, the physician will review your application, and if you want a Medical Marijuana I.D. Card, as well, then if approved, mail both to you on the same day and send an email with your recommendation for print in the meantime.

Unfortunately, criminals are exploiting the ease of this system. Hundreds of websites are offering state-issued medical marijuana I.D. cards and recommendations without authorization. Known swindles include MMJ Doctor Online and 420 Evaluations Online. Despite the legitimacy of its appearance on first visit, getting your recommendation through a fake company ends in your loss.

Not only does it cost you some cash, but also using an unauthorized website for medical marijuana recommendations online could get you into trouble with the law. You could even face fraud charges.

What are the signs that a website is swindling you and does not have the authority to issue recommendations? Here are few that should alert you:

  • Doctors do not have state-issued practising licenses

There is only one method of obtaining a valid medical marijuana recommendation: You need to find a state-licensed physician that complies with the high standards of the health care industry. This legal requirement is not the only benefit of using a certified medical professional, however. Having a real doctor to advise you on the right way to use medical cannabis for your illness is an unmatched necessity.

All medical marijuana doctors have a legal obligation to uphold state and county regulations currently in effect under California law. They also have a duty to protect patients. The first thing to look for is a state-licensed doctor, one who knows and understands intimately the rules and legal consequences of prescribing medical cannabis, and one who demands your medical history before signing your letter.

Fraud sites do not employ licensed physicians. You will not find one on staff. These sites work by stealing authentic signatures online from licensed doctors and pasting them onto medical marijuana recommendations. They do not ask for medical records, and not once do you ever get to speak to an actual medical doctor.

Fake sites fool you into thinking that a doctor is evaluating your case, but you never converse with any directly. Under state law, only licensed physicians can evaluate patients and recommend medical marijuana as treatment. They will discuss your symptoms at length, study your illness, and verify your qualification as a medical cannabis patient.

Fake doctors and fake sites do not require this information and never ask for it. There are no licensed doctors to evaluate cases. Any medical marijuana recommendations or I.D. cards issued by them are fake and vulnerable to rejection at the dispensary counter. They may also attract unwanted attention from authorities should they ever need to verify your medical patient status.

  • Only the doctor’s assistant is available

A physician’s assistant has no legally recognizable ability or authority to examine patients for medical marijuana recommendations. This is true for both in-office consultations and those that occur online. Assistants may only assist doctors in gathering information on patients and with actual examinations where necessary. However, they cannot recommend medical cannabis for anybody.

When discussing your case with an online evaluator, ask if he or she is a licensed medical doctor or an assistant to one. Never hesitate to request credentials. In fact, you should always ask to see them. Legitimate websites with licensed doctors are willing, even happy, to provide this information to you. If they make excuses or outright refuse, then consider it a warning that the site is illegitimate.

  • The physician ‘prescribes’ cannabis instead of ‘recommending’ it

Under federal law, marijuana remains an illegal Schedule I substance. The federal government refuses to change its category from one with a “potential for abuse and severe safety concerns.” Despite scientists and weed advocates long disputing these false claims, it still sits on the Schedule I list. Because of this, it is illegal for doctors to ‘prescribe’ medical marijuana to any of their patients.

Doctors, exclusively licensed ones, can only ‘recommend’ that patients use it to relieve any symptoms of their illness proven treatable by cannabis. Be mindful of the wording your online physician or doctor’s assistant uses when discussing your case. If he or she ever utters the word ‘prescribe,’ then know that it is against the law and you are dealing with an illegal marijuana doctor.

  • The attending marijuana doctor belongs to a dispensary

The law prohibits medical marijuana doctors from having any direct contact with cannabis itself. Whether the physician practices online or in person, he or she must adhere to this and other strict laws applicable to medical professionals. A doctor operating out of a cannabis dispensary is physically providing it to patients and touching the products directly. This is against the law.

Legally, dispensaries may only distribute medical weed to patients with verifiable marijuana recommendations or state-issued I.D. cards. The law does not permit them to recommend its use to anyone, and they do not have the authority to write authentic recommendations or issue valid I.D. cards. Do not fall victim to a doctor involved in any way with a physical dispensary.

If your marijuana doctor operates on the same premises as a dispensary, works in an opposite building, or uses the dispensary’s name in any way in his or her practice, then you should look for another physician. Although most fraudulent marijuana doctors do not involve themselves with dispensaries, it is still a red flag for prospective patients to avoid.


When applying to the state for a Medical Marijuana Card, it is crucial that you got your recommendation from a licensed doctor. Working with one from the outset is imperative, as doing so will keep your information private and secure, can answer all of the many questions you likely have, and most importantly, guarantee the authenticity of the marijuana recommendation you receive via mail.

Never trust a physician who ‘prescribes’ medical cannabis rather than recommends it, and never shy away from asking for a doctor’s credentials if you have any doubts about his or her, or the website’s, legitimacy. Medical cannabis is a highly beneficial treatment for anyone suffering the symptoms of glaucoma, chemotherapy-associated nausea, chronic pain, arthritis, and many other ailments.

Despite being legal throughout the state of California, you still need a genuine marijuana recommendation or a state-issued card before any dispensary can legally allow you to purchase medical cannabis. Anyone or any website offering to sell it to you without this is also breaking the law. Using one could get you into serious legal trouble. Misdemeanor charges carry harsh fines and heavy penalties.

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