Even though Amendment 2 came into effect in Florida back in January 2017 (which allows patients with a debilitating medical condition to purchase medical weed), it’s only been somewhat recently that dispensaries have actually started opening up in abundance across the state. (This has been due to the long, drawn-out process that growers have to go through in order to open up a legal medical dispensary).
Now that the dozens of stores are up and open for business, though, more and more residents are starting to wonder how to get a medical marijuana card in Florida. Fortunately, the process is pretty well-organized and streamlined for user-friendliness: if you are a legal Florida resident and are in need of a Florida marijuana license (MMJ Card), then this comprehensive guide is for you.
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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida: The Complete Rundown
The general process of applying for and obtaining medical cannabis in Florida has actually stayed more or less the same since the state began its program back in 2017. As a valid resident with verification of residency, the process for how to get a medical marijuana card in Florida is a follows:
Step 1) Get your medical records and make an appointment with a doctor
The first step in getting a Florida medical marijuana card is to obtain your medical records and receive a signed physician’s statement from a doctor. The Florida doctor must be registered in the state’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry. (Check here for an updated list of Florida medical marijuana doctors).
Also please note that in order to get a medical cannabis card in Florida, you MUST be a resident of the state. You will need to provide proof of residency, for example a Florida I.D, passport, or another form of photo identification.
Step 2) Go to your MMJ Doctor Consultation
Once you have found a qualified physician in the state, sent your complete medical history to their office, and made an appointment for an MMJ consultation, the physician will then enter your name and information into the Florida Marijuana Use Registry (aka the Compassionate Care Registry), which is run by the Department of Health. You will not be able to apply for your FL MMJ card until you are officially in the Registry.
- Applications can be submitted by your doctor, or you can submit them on your own behalf.
- You must be registered with the Compassionate Use Registry by their ordering physician.
Step 3) Complete and submit your application online
Once your doctor has approved you for medical marijuana use and you are in the registry, you can then submit a completed application to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (or you can have the physician’s office submit it on your behalf).
Submitting the application is by far the longest part of the process – in some instances, it can take upwards of three weeks for the DOH to review your application and issue you your MMJ card, even if all of your paperwork is in order.
What are the Florida Medical Cannabis Card Costs?
When applying for a medical marijuana card in Florida (also called a “Compassionate Use Registry Card), applicants have two fees to pay:
- The initial fee to meet with the qualified physician (cost varies depending on location)
- The registration fee for the application itself, which is $75
Also, full-face, passport-type color photographs are required, so this may be an additional small cost. The cost to meet with a qualified physician can vary, though on average it seems to be around $150. Also, once issued to you, the MMJ card does have to be renewed annually – this includes having to pay your doctor consult fees and the $75 registration fee again.
[More information on the FL MMJ application process can be found by visiting the official website of the Office of Medical Marijuana Use].
What are the Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in Florida?
Patients in Florida that have been diagnosed with one of the following “debilitating medical conditions” are afforded legal protection under the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (as per Amendment 2):
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS / Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Crohn’s disease
- HIV / AIDS
- Chronic muscle spasms
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Any ailment/condition “of the same severity/symptoms” (as determined by the recommending physician)
Other Important Information on the Florida Medical Marijuana License Process
While we’ve outlined the very general process for how to apply for medical marijuana, Florida also has a few “unique” rules and regulations that all patients should be aware of before buying, possessing, or using medical cannabis in the state. Here are some of the most common FAQ with regard to medical weed in Florida:
My Florida Medical Marijuana Card has Expired. How Do I Get a Renewal?
To maintain an active Compassionate Use Registry identification card, a patient (or their legal representative) must annually submit a renewal application, along with the application fee and any required accompanying documents to the department forty-five (45) days prior to the card expiration date.
Once I have my Florida MMJ card, where can I buy marijuana?
Once your application is approved and you receive your legal marijuana card, you or your legal caretaker will be able to buy cannabis products from a licensed medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTC) in the state of Florida. Currently, there are just under 80 operating locations in the state. If you do not leave near a physical location, however, most dispensaries offer free delivery across the entire state.
Once I have my MMJ card, can I grow my own marijuana?
No. Florida law only allows the licensed dispensing organizations to grow, process and dispense marijuana. The department will refer any business or individual suspected of violating state law to local law enforcement for investigation. It is important to remember that marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Can I take My Meds to a Different State?
No. According to current laws in the state, patients who obtain a medical card may only use medical marijuana in Florida. Medical marijuana patients may face federal and local charges of transporting marijuana if they cross state lines with the drug. This is true even if the states between which they are traveling allow medical marijuana.
Who Can Use Medical Marijuana in Florida?
Florida law has several requirements for patients to be eligible to receive low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis. Here are the general outlines for MMJ use within the state:
|Qualifying condition||A patient must have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition (see full list above)|
|Residency||All MMJ patients must be a Florida resident, and be able to provide proof of residency|
|Age limitations||If under the age of 18, a Florida patient must have a second physician agree to the use of medical cannabis in order to obtain a valid MMJ identification card|
|Prior treatments||A qualified MMJ patient must have tried other forms of treatment without success|
|Physician determination||The recommending physician must determine that the risk(s) of cannabis use are “reasonable in light of the benefit to the patient”|
|Compassionate Use Registry||All patients must be registered with the Compassionate Use Registry by their ordering physician|
Related Article: 3 Ways to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online (in Minutes)
Can I use Medical Marijuana Anywhere in Florida?
Similar to most states with an active MMJ program, the use of any form of medical cannabis in Florida is prohibited in public places. Also, patients are not allowed to smoke their meds; all medications must be consumed in a private location, and may only be consumed through the use of an oil tincture or vaporizing device.
Attorney John Morgan is currently challenging the ban on smoking marijuana in Florida, with the case set to be heard in a Tallahassee appeals court in January, 2019.
How Much Medical Cannabis Should I consume?
We are not doctors or physicians, and therefore you should always consult with a Florida marijuana licensed physician before using. When you receive your recommendation, however, the ordering doctor will disclose how much cannabis you are allowed to purchase per month, as well as what types of products you are allowed to buy (some patients will only be allowed access to high-CBD/low-THC products).
[If you have any other questions on how to get a medical marijuana card in Florida, feel free to view our Florida FAQ Page or contact us through our Facebook page!]
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