A lot has been going on in the state of Florida in regards to Medical Marijuana. Back in 2016, the legislation of Florida’s Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative took a massive step with Amendment 2, and approved patients with qualifying medical conditions to legally obtain medical marijuana. They basically expanded the list of qualifying conditions that were previously eligible to receive low-THC cannabis usage, and permitted the use of medical marijuana.
So, should we all jump for joy?
Not quite yet. It’s important to understand that while Florida has approved medical marijuana, there are still quite a few stipulations and quite a bit of “fine print” that one needs to be aware of before applying for a card.
In this post, we are not going to focus so much on the laws and regulations involved (for that you can check out our article on how to get a medical marijuana card in Florida), but rather discuss the most frequently asked questions by patients who are concerned about getting medical marijuana in Florida. We will include things like updated qualifying conditions, whether or not you’re allowed to grow/cultivate your own personal cannabis, what forms of cannabis will be available (i.e. oils/edibles/dry flower), and how much marijuana you’ll be allowed to buy/possess at any one time.
Who can Qualify for Medical Marijuana in Florida?
Amendment 2 was written specifically to allow medical marijuana to be provided as a treatment for patients with the following diseases:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Terminal conditions diagnosed by a doctor other than the one issuing the MMJ certification
- Chronic nonmalignant pain (caused by one of the above qualifying conditions)
It is worth pointing out, however, that medical marijuana doctors in Florida have a fair amount of “legal maneuvering” when it comes to recommending MMJ cards, as a recently supplementation to the above list includes medical conditions “of the same kind or class as (or comparable) to those above.”
This leaves a large amount of interpretation up to the individual physician, so be advised that if you want medical marijuana in Florida but don’t have one of the above conditions, it may still be worth getting in touch with an MMJ doctor in the state (feel free to comment below or get in touch with us directly via Facebook for recommendations of who to contact).
What’s the difference between Low-THC Cannabis and Medical Marijuana?
The state of Florida specifies a clear difference between “low-THC cannabis” and Medical Marijuana. According to Section 381.986 F.S, patients can currently qualify for low-THC cannabis in the state; meaning that the cannabis is “non-euphoric” (non high-producing) with 0.8% or less of THC.
For this, you must be:
- A permanent resident of the state of Florida.
- Admitted into the Compassionate Use Registry by a qualified physician.
- A patient of an ordering physician for a minimum of 3 months.
- Diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition.
Qualifying conditions for Low-THC Cannabis include:
- Chronic Seizures
- Chronic muscle spasms
The state defines “low-THC cannabis” as:
Any form of the plant genus Cannabis, “the dried flowers of which contain 0.8% or less of tetrahydrocannabinol and more than 10% of cannabidiol (CBD) weight for weight – the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from the plant, or any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant or its seeds or resin that is dispensed only from a dispensing organization.”
Low-THC cannabis contains very low amounts of marijuana’s psychoactive compound, and thus typically does not result in the “high” that is associated with regular marijuana use.
The state defines “Medical Marijuana” as:
Medical cannabis (marijuana) in Florida is defined as any part of the plant genus Cannabis (including seeds, the resin from seeds or any other part of the plant), and every “compound, manufacture, sale, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant that is dispensed only from a dispensing organization for medical use by an eligible patient.”
Simply put, medical marijuana in Florida will contains significant levels of THC, and can result in the euphoric “high” sensation.
Where can I get medical marijuana in Florida?
Unlike recreational states, you can’t simply walk into a marijuana dispensary in Florida and pick up some weed. A patient must first seek treatment from a qualified physician for at least three months immediately preceding their order for medical marijuana. Then your physician must register all the information into the Compassionate Use Patient Registry system, which is the state’s system that tracks all medical cannabis patients and their orders. Only then will you be able to contact one of the licensed dispensaries to complete your order.
What are the legal restrictions once I obtain medical marijuana in Florida?
- You CANNOT transfer your medical marijuana to any other person.
- You CANNOT use medical marijuana on any form of public transportation, in any public place, or in a place of employment (if restricted by the MMJ cardholder’s employer). Also, medical marijuana use is forbidden in state correctional institutions, on the grounds of preschools, primary schools, secondary schools, or on any school vehicle.
Can I grow my own marijuana in Florida?
Unfortunately, no. Florida law currently only allows licensed dispensaries to grow, process and dispense marijuana. It is also important to remember that marijuana is illegal under federal law, and may not be transported across state lines.
Which dispensaries can sell low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana in Florida?
The state of Florida has dozens of operating medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as locations in most major urban areas.
For those living in the panhandle, licensed dispensaries are available in:
- Fort Walton Beach
For those living in northern Florida, licensed dispensaries are available in:
For those living in central Florida, licensed dispensaries are available in:
- Lady Lake/The Villages (between Ocala and Orlando)
For those living on the east coast of Florida, licensed dispensaries are available in:
- Daytona Beach
- Edgewater (south of New Smyrna Beach)
- Vero Beach
- Port St. Lucie
For those living on the west coast of Florida, licensed dispensaries are available in:
- Tampa Bay (Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg)
- New Port Ritchey
- North Port
- Ft. Myers
For those living in south Florida, licensed dispensaries are available in:
- West Palm Beach
Dispensary licensed have been granted to seven commercial operations, including:
- CHT Medical
- The Green Solution
- Surterra Therapeutics
- Modern Health Concepts
- Knox Medical
How do I apply for a medical marijuana card in Florida?
The State of Florida accepts applications from both patients and legal representatives (caregivers). Patients must be entered into the Compassionate Use Registry by a qualified physician in order to receive a card. To understand the complete process, please read our complete guide for How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card In Florida
Can I purchase medical cannabis or low-THC cannabis in FL while my card application is being processed?
According to state rules, yes. The Office of Compassionate Use will send patients and legal representatives a temporary Compassionate Use Registry identification card once their card application has been approved. Temporary cards may not be used once a patient has been sent a permanent card.
For more information, feel free to read the state’s official FAQ page
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