In June 2014, Governor Rick Scott signed the ‘Charlotte’s Web’ bill into law, also known as the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014. This bill legalized a non-euphoric strain of marijuana for medical use in Florida by authorizing certified physicians to order low-THC cannabis for qualified patients.
Given that Florida’s medical marijuana industry is in its infancy, there are still some areas that are not well understood.
In this blog we will answer some of these frequently asked questions:
Who qualifies for Florida medical marijuana?
Where to find a medical marijuana doctor in Florida?
How to apply for and get a Florida medical marijuana card?
Where to get medical marijuana?
FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA OVERVIEW
WHEN DID MEDICAL MARIJUANA BECOME LEGAL IN FLORIDA?
On November 08, 2016, Ballot Initiative Amendment 2: “Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions” was approved by Florida voters, effectively legalizing the medical use of marijuana by qualified patients.
The Amendment passed after winning 71.1% of the votes. Amendment 2 became effective January 3, 2017, granting qualified Florida residents access to medical marijuana.
This amendment had the following stipulations:
Allows medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician.
Allows caregivers to assist patients with the use of medical marijuana.
The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers.
Applies only to Florida law.
Does not immunize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of medical marijuana.
WHAT IS MEDICAL MARIJUANA?
The term medical marijuana includes all parts of a cannabis plant, its seeds, 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.
It can contain significant amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical compound that produces the “high” commonly associated with marijuana.
WHAT IS LOW-THC MARIJUANA?
In Florida, low-THC marijuana is distinct from medical marijuana; it contains very low amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the psychoactive component of the drug. As a result, low-THC products do not produce the same euphoria, or “high” that is commonly associated with full-potency marijuana.
In order to qualify as low-THC, the flowers, seeds, resin, and any other product derived from the marijuana plant must contain 0.8 percent or less of THC and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol (CBD) weight for weight.
FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA QUALIFICATION & REGISTRATION
HOW TO GET A FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD
WHO QUALIFIES FOR FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA?
Florida’s Department of Health has published a list of debilitating medical conditions for which medical marijuana is considered an applicable treatment.
Article X, Section 29, (b), (1)
“Debilitating medical condition means cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic non-malignant pain, or other debilitating medical condition of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”
Don’t see your condition on this list? Not to worry. While some of the other 20 states with legalized medical marijuana tend to follow their authorized list closely, Florida takes a more broad-spectrum approach.
In this approach, certified doctors are authorized by the Florida Department of Health to determine if medical marijuana is an appropriate treatment for you. This means that as long as your doctor approves, you can use medical marijuana to treat your condition, even if it is not included on the Department of Health’s list of approved medical conditions.
According to The Florida Supreme Court, other qualifying conditions include those that cause “impaired strength, weakness or enfeeblement.” This covers a broad spectrum, from Arthritis to glaucoma and even depression.
COMMON QUALIFYING CONDITIONS FOR THE USE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA
WHERE TO FIND A MEDICAL MARIJUANA DOCTOR IN FLORIDA?
The Department of Health has compiled a list of doctors who are certified to prescribe medical marijuana. Not all doctors on this list certify, however, many became registered with the state but are not actively seeing medical marijuana patients. If you are seeking a medical marijuana doctor to get a recommendation, talk to THC Physicians.
HOW OFTEN DO I HAVE TO SEE THE DOCTOR?
The Florida Department of Health requires patients to be certified for the use of medical marijuana at least every 210 days (7 months).
Certification requires an in-person visit with the physician and includes a medical evaluation and medical marijuana recommendation.
WHAT IS THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA USE REGISTRY?
The Medical Marijuana Use Registry is a secure, electronic, and online database for the registration of ordering physicians and qualified patients. It is accessible to ordering physicians, law enforcement, dispensing organization staff, and Office of Medical Marijuana Use staff.
Once you’ve been approved by a qualified physician, he/she will enter your patient information into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. After this has been done, your next step is to apply for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card.
WHAT IS THE FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA ID CARD?
The Florida Medical Marijuana ID card is a state-issued identification card that enables patients approved by qualifying physicians to obtain medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries.
WHO NEEDS A MEDICAL MARIJUANA USE REGISTRY ID CARD?
As of March 2017, all patients and/or their legal representatives are required to have a Registry Identification Card to fill an order for medical marijuana , low-THC cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device at one of the state’s dispensing organizations.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A MEDICAL MARIJUANA ID CARD?
To apply for a card, the patients and/or legal representatives must submit an application to The Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry. This simple one page application must include a passport photo and can be submitted in one of two ways:
online application through the Medical Marijuana Use Registry
mailed hard copy to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
All applications must include a registration fee of $75.
Upon approval, the patient or legal representative will receive their ID card in the mail from the Office of Medical Marijuana Use. This is required for patients to fill their order at a Florida medical marijuana dispensary.
HOW LONG IS MY MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD GOOD FOR?
Your medical marijuana card will be valid for one year. Each year, patients and/or their legal representatives must submit a renewal application, along with the application fee and any additional required document to maintain an active Medical Marijuana Use Registry identification card. This must be submitted forty-five (45) days prior to the card expiration date.
FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES: WHERE PATIENTS CAN GET IT
Once you’ve been approved and have received your Medical Marijuana ID card from the Florida Department of Health, your next step will be finding a place to get your medical marijuana. As it is a highly-regulated substance, patients are only allowed to get their medical marijuana from a Florida licensed dispensary.
In order to obtain medical marijuana, patients and/or their legal representatives must present their valid Medical Marijuana Use Registry identification card to the dispensary. This ID card is used to verify a patient or legal representative’s active status in the Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry.
There are currently seven licensed dispensing organizations in Florida recognized by the government to legally cultivate, process and dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients and their legal representatives.
The Florida Medical Marijuana Dispensing Organizations are:
Dispensing facilities are located across the state and can be found at one of these locations
24761 US Highway 19 North 630
Clearwater, FL 33763
103 Boston Road
Edgewater, Florida 32141
3400 SW 34th Street
Gainesville, Florida, 32608
6259 Beach Boulevard
Jacksonville, Florida, 32216
Modern Health Concepts
19000 SW 192nd Street
Miami, FL 33187
4020 Northwest 26th Street
Miami, FL 33142
1901N. Orange Ave
Orlando, Florida, 32804
3119 North Davis Highway
Pensacola, FL 32503
8435 4th Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33702
1639 Village Square Blvd
Tallahassee, FL 32309
800 Capital Circle SE
Tallahassee, FL 32301
2558 E Fowler AVE,
Tampa FL 33612
8701 North Dale Mabry Highway
Tampa, FL 33614
13940 US HWY 441
Lady Lake, Florida 32159
Don’t live near one of these dispensaries? Not to worry! Your dispensing organization can deliver medical marijuana products through a courier service for a small fee. To arrange this service, patients must contact their medical marijuana dispensary and request a home delivery.
Keep in mind that the dispensaries vary in their medical marijuana products. If you’re looking for a particular strain, Charlotte’s Web or CBD for instance, you would need to make sure that you choose a dispensary that has that product in stock.
WHO CAN GROW FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA?
Per Florida’s current medical marijuana law, it is illegal for you to grow your own marijuana. Qualifying patients are required to fill their prescription with a Florida licensed medical marijuana dispensary.