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Voters approved Amendment 2, the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, back in 2016. That doesn’t mean getting a program in place has been easy in the Sunshine State. In fact, the rules set out by the government are still being debated in court.
In the meantime, Floridians do have access to medical marijuana. To use cannabis for medical purposes, though, you’ll need to have a Florida medical marijuana card.
The process is just three steps, but there’s plenty of details you’ll want to get right when you apply for your card. This guide walks you through step by step.
Evaluation for Florida Medical Marijuana Card
The first step in how to get a medical marijuana card in Florida is to be evaluated by a doctor. The doctor must be qualified to order medical marijuana. The doctor must be registered on Florida’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry.
The evaluation is to decide if medical marijuana is an appropriate treatment for you. If the doctor thinks medical marijuana is a good fit, they’ll sign a physician’s statement. You’ll need to make an appointment and visit the doctor’s office in person to be evaluated.
Before you go to the appointment, you’ll want to be sure you have your medical records. This is important if the medical marijuana doctor you’re seeing is not your primary doctor. Your primary care physician can also provide documentation of their diagnosis.
Keep in mind that only those over the age of 18 can qualify for medical marijuana in Florida. Minors can get medical cannabis if they get two doctors’ recommendations.
You must also be a resident of the state, so you’ll need to bring an ID such as a passport or Florida driver’s license.
Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in Florida
In Florida, medical marijuana can only be used to treat certain conditions. Qualifying conditions include:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Chronic pain
- Parkinson’s disease
There are a handful of other qualifying conditions. The state does give physicians some leeway. They can recommend medical marijuana for patients who have comparable conditions.
Physician’s Recommendation for Medical Marijuana
At the evaluation, your medical marijuana doctor will go through your medical history. They may ask you questions, and they’ll evaluate your primary care doctor’s diagnosis.
Once they know you qualify for medical marijuana, they’ll help you determine if it’s the right treatment. Cannabis is incredibly personalized medicine, but it doesn’t work for every patient. Another treatment may be more appropriate for you.
If your doctor determines you’re qualified and that medical cannabis may benefit you, they’ll make a recommendation. They’ll then help you establish a medical care plan on your behalf.
Your doctor will also enter you in the Florida Marijuana Use Registry. If you’re not registered, you won’t be able to complete the next step.
Complete Your Application
Once you’ve consulted with your medical marijuana doctor and been registered, you must submit a completed application to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
You’ll need to include a passport-style photo. You must also give proof of residency with your application. There’s also a $75 fee, which you’ll need to pay when you apply.
Applications can be submitted by mail or electronically.
Once you’ve submitted an application, the Department of Health will review it. If they approve the application, they’ll issue a temporary card, which allows you to buy right away. You’ll need to wait a little longer for your medical marijuana card.
How long does it take for the DOH to review an application? It depends. In some cases, people need to wait up to three weeks, even if their application has been filled correctly.
Renewing Your Card
Once you’ve received your card, you can visit dispensaries and buy medical cannabis. The card does have an expiry date, though. Medical marijuana patients in Florida will need to renew their card every year.
Renewing a card means making another doctor’s appointment and submitting another application. It also means paying the fees again. You have to complete this 45 days before your card expires.
If you need a new recommendation, you’ll need to be re-certified after 30 weeks.
What Can You Use?
One of the big questions for patients has been what they can use. In 2017, Florida introduced rules limiting the types of medical marijuana. In early 2019, smokable medical marijuana finally became legal in Florida.
Currently, the forms of medical marijuana available to Floridians now are:
- Dried flower
- Concentrates or sealed flower pods for vaping
Florida patients do not have the right to grow their own cannabis. They also need to make sure they don’t exceed the legal limit for possession. Edibles are also not allowed for medicinal purposes.
Those who want to use smokable marijuana need a new recommendation from their doctor. The doctor must determine smokable cannabis is the most appropriate method.
A new form was introduced in June 2019, which has a space for smokable cannabis recommendations. Anyone who had a certification for smokable marijuana needed to consult with their physician.
What About CBD?
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and hemp-derived products. That includes many CBD products. So long as the product is made from hemp, it’s legal for anyone in the United States to buy CBD.
Where Can You Use it?
It’s important to remember that medical marijuana can only be used in certain spaces. For the most part, consumption is limited to private residences.
It’s illegal to use medical marijuana in public. It’s also illegal to take it with you across state lines.
Get the Latest News
For patients with a Florida medical marijuana card, keeping up with the updates to the program is important. Right now, the rules have been declared unconstitutional. The case may even be making its way to the Supreme Court.
You can stay up to date by checking in with us for the latest Florida medical marijuana news.