Florida’s got it all.
Beautiful white sand beaches, fun nightlife, fascinating marine life, good old Miami, the Keys, and of course Disney World. You can even celebrate New Year’s Eve twice on the panhandle. What’s not to love?
But that’s not all. In case you needed another reason to visit (or not to leave), medical marijuana in Florida is now legal! That’s right—we’re legally green since January of 2017! However, we’re a far cry from states like Colorado and California due to some quite stingy laws.
Hey, it’s a start. Right?
So before you pack your bags and head over to the sunshine state for a permanent recreational and relaxing vacation, you might want to read this first.
How to Buy Medical Marijuana in Florida
The bad news is that unless you’re already a resident, you won’t be able to obtain medical marijuana in Florida. On the plus side, you don’t have to be a permanent resident. Seasonal residents have the opportunity to apply for their medical marijuana (or, MMJ) card as well.
Not to be a drag—but the entire process can be a bit lengthy, not to mention expensive. It’s also a bit more strict than the requirements to register your dog as a service pet. But once you’re approved and you receive your MMJ card, the only thing you’ll need to do is figure out where to purchase medical marijuana in Florida.
All you need is proof of residency, a qualifying condition, and money. And patience to begin your journey, because it may be a long one.
Here is what the process looks like:
First, Find a Medical Marijuana Doctor
The first step to getting your hands on medical marijuana is to get a signed physician’s statement from a doctor. And not just any doctor—you have to find a doctor who is licensed to prescribe medical marijuana in Florida. They should be registered in the state’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry.
But there’s a catch—you’ll have to become a patient of this doctor for at least three months before you can receive an MMJ recommendation. It’s also important to know that your insurance won’t cover the cost of your visit, which can amount upward of $250.
Next, Go to Your MMJ Doctor Consultation
Get your medical records in order and send them to your new doctor’s office. He or she will have to enter your name and information into the Florida Marijuana Use Registry (also known as the Compassionate Care Registry).
During your consultation, your physician will want to discuss your past medical history and treatment options. Of course, this is provided that you have a qualifying condition.
The qualifying conditions include:
- Lou Gehrig’s Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Chronic Seizures
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic Pain
This list also includes terminal illnesses diagnosed by the qualified physician or your regular doctor. You may also qualify for conditions comparable to the ones listed above.
You have to prove that you have one of these conditions and that you have tried other treatments that have fallen short. Unfortunately, you cannot fake anxiety to get an MMJ card. However, that’s not to say that real anxiety won’t qualify you!
Finish Your Application and Submit it Online
Once your doctor signs off on your prescription and you get a patient ID number, you can apply for your MMJ card online. (Your doctor can also submit it on your behalf). The application fee is $75 and will take up to ten business days to process the payment and then get approved.
In some cases, it can take longer than 10 business days, but once your application is approved you’ll receive a temporary ID by e-mail. You can use this until your MMJ card arrives to get your prescriptions filled.
Your new prescription will be good for 30 weeks before you need the green light from your doctor again. After one year, you’ll have to go in for another examination, which will cost you another $250 for the visit. You’ll also have to pay another $75 to register once again.
*Your yearly application for renewing must be submitted by you or your caregiver at least 45 days before your card’s expiration date!
Finding Stores for Medical Marijuana in Florida
Finding stores for medical marijuana in Florida isn’t that difficult. There are already about 100 legal Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC) statewide. Many of the MMTC dispensaries offer free delivery statewide for your convenience as well—kind of like the Pineapple Express Home Weed Delivery service in California.
The dispensaries in Florida aren’t exactly how you’d picture them either. You won’t find everything out in the open for you to touch and smell. Everything is tightly concealed. Also, it wasn’t until recently (March 18, 2019, to be exact), that medical marijuana in Florida became legal to smoke!
Up until now, patients were only able to purchase oils, sprays, edibles, vaping products, and pills.
Don’t Forget the Laws
Having a card for medical marijuana in Florida isn’t the same as a get out of jail free card. It’s important to remember that marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
Here are some of the rules and regulations of having an MMJ card:
- Recreational use is still illegal, and so is a public use (including in your car). Even if you have your MMJ card, you’ll still be facing serious consequences if you get caught lighting up anywhere other than your home.
- This card also does NOT make you a licensed marijuana grower. Home cultivation is very much illegal in Florida.
- You are prohibited from taking your new medication across state lines. What you are prescribed in Florida must stay in Florida, even if you’re traveling somewhere that marijuana is legal.
- You can still get fired from your job. The laws may have changed, but that doesn’t mean your workplace policies have.
- You must be 18 years or older to obtain medical marijuana in Florida. Of course, there are certain exceptions which would require multiple physicians.
These laws will most likely be in flux for a while as Florida gets closer to legalizing marijuana for recreational use in 2022. It looks like the sunshine state is about to get a bit brighter.