How To Obtain A Medical Marijuana Card In Florida: A Guide For Cannabis Patients
Florida Amendment 2 passed by 71% of voters on Nov. 8, 2016, enabling medical marijuana to be prescribed when a physician believes its use likely outweighs the potential health risks for a patient. Smoking medical marijuana was initially prohibited under the medical marijuana law. However, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against the prohibition and in March 2019 Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation allowing patients to smoke medical marijuana.
Florida's medical marijuana program has proven to be popular. There were more than 323,000 patients registered as of July 12, 2019, according to Florida Department of Health's Office of Medical Marijuana Use statistics. The office is charged with writing and implementing the department's rules for medical marijuana, overseeing the statewide Medical Marijuana Use Registry, and licensing Florida businesses to cultivate, process, and dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients.
Florida's Qualifying Conditions
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease
- Chronic pain
- Crohn's disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson's disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Terminal condition diagnosed by a physician who is not issuing the certification
Applying for Medical Marijuana in Florida
Physicians must first diagnose patients with a qualifying medical condition and enter their information and order into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry to start the enrollment process. Once enrolled, patients must obtain a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card to purchase and possess medical marijuana and pay a $75 processing fee.
The Office of Medical Marijuana Use keeps an extensive list of physicians who have completed required training. The list, which is updated weekly, contains more than 2,300 physicians.
Patients younger than 18 must submit a certified copy of a birth certificate or a current record of registration from a Florida K-12 school, and a copy of the parent's or legal guardian's valid Florida driver's license or identification card.
Appointing a Caregiver
Caregivers must sign up on the medical marijuana use registry for a caregiver identification card. Individuals can only be caregivers for one qualified patient unless the patient is a minor and the caregiver is a parent or legal guardian, the patient is an adult with an intellectual or developmental disability, or the patient is admitted to a hospice.
A caregiver must:
- Not be a qualified physician
- Not be employed by or have an economic interest in a medical marijuana treatment center or a marijuana testing laboratory.
- Be 21 years of age or older and a resident of Florida.
- Agree in writing to assist with the patient's medical use of marijuana.
- Complete a caregiver certification course, which must be renewed every two years. The price of the course may not exceed $100.
- Pass a background screening, unless the patient is a close relative of the caregiver.
Florida has expanded the availability of medical marijuana and the types of cannabis that can be consumed. (Photo by Alexander Lukatskiy/Shutterstock)
Acquiring Your Medicine
Patients and caregivers may purchase medical marijuana only from a state-approved medical marijuana treatment center. Medical marijuana treatment centers are allowed to deliver medical marijuana to qualified patients and caregivers.
A qualified physician will determine the type and quantity of low-THC medical marijuana to recommend for a patient, and a 35-day supply of marijuana in a form for smoking may not exceed 2.5 ounces, or 71 grams, unless an exception is approved.
There are currently 138 Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers throughout the state.
Rules for Patients Visiting from Other States (Reciprocity)
Florida law does not offer reciprocity for patients of other state medical marijuana programs. However, Section 381.986 of the Florida Statutes does permit seasonal residents to register.
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