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 a debilitating medical condition to legally obtain medical marijuana. They basically expanded the list of qualifying medical conditions that are now eligible to receive Low-THC Cannabis usage and permitted the use of medical marijuana.
So, should we all jump for joy?
Not yet. It’s important to understand that while the state has approved medical marijuana, it doesn’t mean that the state has yet implemented a framework to carry out the constitutional amendment. Implementing it now rests in the hands of state health officials – and who knows when that is going to happen?
In this post, we are not going to focus on the laws and regulations involved but discuss the most frequent questions asked by patients. We will include qualifying conditions and the process on how to obtain a medical marijuana card in Florida.
Who can Qualify for a Medical Marijuana?
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
Amendment 2 was also created to allow licensed physicians to approve patients for medical marijuana use after diagnosing them with some “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated.”
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. While the framework for the later is still being established, according to Section 381.986, F.S, patients can currently qualify for Low-THC Cannabis in the state. This means that the cannabis is non-euphoric 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:
Low-THC cannabis is defined as a plant of the genus Cannabis, the dried flowers of which contain 0.8% or less of tetrahydrocannabinol and more than 10% of cannabidiol 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 THC, and typically does not result in the “high” often associated with medical marijuana.
The state defines Medical Marijuana as:
Medical cannabis (marijuana) means all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, sale, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin that is dispensed only from a dispensing organization for medical use by an eligible patient as defined in s. 499.0295. Medical marijuana contains significant levels of THC and can result in the euphoric “high” sensation.
Where can I get medical marijuana?
Unlike recreational states, you can’t simply walk into a dispensary 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. This is the state’s system that tracks all 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?
- You CANNOT transfer your medical marijuana to any other person.
- You CANNOT use medical marijuana on any form of public transportation. You cannot use it in any public place, in a qualified patient’s place of employment, if restricted by his or her employer. Use is forbidden in a state correctional institution, on the grounds of a preschool, primary school, or secondary school or any school vehicle.
Can I grow my own marijuana?
Absolutely not. Florida law only allows licensed dispensaries to grow, process and dispense marijuana. It is also important to remember, marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Which dispensaries can sell low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana?
The state of Florida has permitted 7 dispensaries: CHT Medical (Chestnut Hill Tree Farm), The Green Solution (San Felasco Nurseries), Trulieve (Hackney Nursery), Surterra Therapeutics (Alpha Foliage, Inc.), Modern Health Concepts (Costa Nursery Farms), Knox Medical (Knox Nursery), and GrowHealthy (McCrory’s Sunny Hill Nursery)
How do I apply for a card?
The State Department accepts applications from patients and legal representatives. Patients must be entered into the Compassionate Use Registry by a qualified physician to receive a card. To understand the complete process, please read our: How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card In Florida
Can I purchase medical cannabis or low-THC cannabis 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 FAQ page
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