It’s finally here. After multiple referendums failed to win the popular vote, Senate Bill 8-A: Medical Use of Marijuana passed both houses in the Florida legislature by an overwhelming majority and was rapidly signed into law by Governor Rick Scott in 2017. But what does the passage of Florida’s new medical marijuana law mean? And if you’re a candidate for medical marijuana, how can you actually get it?
Conditions That Qualify For a Medical Marijuana Card
In order to get your Florida medical marijuana card (MMJ card), your doctor must state that you qualify based on one of the following medical conditions:
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease)
8. Crohn’s disease
9. Parkinson’s disease
10. Multiple sclerosis
11. Medical conditions comparable to those listed above
12. A terminal condition (this can be diagnosed by another doctor other than the one prescribing)
13. Chronic nonmalignant pain
It’s important to note that conditions that might qualify in other states, like anxiety, migraine headaches, and nausea (unless related to one of the listed maladies) aren’t covered under Florida’s medical marijuana law.
Restrictions to the Florida Medical Marijuana Laws
There are several rules governing the use of medical marijuana with which all patients must comply. They are as follows:
- No Smoking – Florida’s medical marijuana law allows for vaping, edibles, and some other methods of ingestion, but it doesn’t permit smoking cannabis in the leaf form.
- No Growing Your Own Plants – You must obtain your medical marijuana from a licensed medical marijuana treatment center. Growing or cultivating your own cannabis plants as a patient or caregiver is a crime under Florida law.
- You Must Have a FL Medical Marijuana Card – In order for a doctor to prescribe you marijuana or a dispensary to fill a prescription, you must have your medical cannabis card.
- No Public Consumption – It’s a misdemeanor to consume medical marijuana in public spaces, including, but not limited to, public transportation, schools (whether public or private), and places of business where the management doesn’t allow it.
- No Consumption in Vehicles – You aren’t allowed to use medical marijuana in cars, boats, or aircraft.
Florida Compassionate Care Act
The Florida Compassionate Care act is what determines who is eligible for a medical marijuana card. It is run by the Office of Medical Marijuana Use and they oversee the writing and implementation of the Department’s rules governing the use of medical marijuana.
They also manage the state’s medical marijuana use registry and are in charge of providing licenses to Florida businesses that wish to cultivate, process, and distribute medical marijuana to patients who meet the qualifications outlined in the rest of this article.
How to Get a Medical Cannabis Card in Florida
If you believe that your medical condition qualifies you under Florida law and you’re seeking your card to get prescribed low-THC cannabis, this is cannabis with less than 0.8% THC and 10% or more cannabidiol. You’ll have to register and get your medical marijuana use registry identification card. Here’s a step-by-step guideline to the process:
- You must be the patient of a doctor who is licensed to prescribe medical marijuana in the state of Florida and you must have been a patient of that doctor for at least three months before receiving your diagnosis.
- The prescribing doctor will then enter you into Florida’s Marijuana Use Registry. Until your information is entered in the registry, you can’t apply for a medical marijuana card in Florida.
- Once your doctor has entered you into the registry, you can submit your application for a medical marijuana card. There is an application fee of $75 and you must submit a full face, color passport photo taken during the 90 days preceding application. You must also submit a copy of your FL driver’s license, ID card, or proof of residency. Unfortunately, it can take up to two months for the Department of Health to review your application and send you your card.
Without your medical marijuana card, you can’t legally obtain low-THC cannabis, and you’ll need to have your card on you anytime you’re carrying your prescription with you in public. Your prescribing physician must reevaluate you at least once every 30 weeks (210 days) before a new certification can be issued.
How to Get Medical Marijuana in Florida
After you’ve gone through the process to get your license, you’re going to need to fill your medical marijuana prescription. You will need to go to a qualified dispensary, called a medical marijuana treatment center to receive your order. Marijuana treatment centers are allowed to deliver marijuana to patients via courier if necessary.
It’s illegal for doctors to fill your medical marijuana prescription or to be employed by a treatment center. Doctors can prescribe up to a 70-day supply of cannabis with two refills, so a maximum supply of 210 days. In order for you to fill your prescription at a treatment center, you’ll have to have your medical marijuana ID card with you, and you’ll need it to legally transport your prescription off of the property, so carry it with you at all times.
Florida Medical Marijuana Card FAQs
A. It is valid for one year after it has been issued, at which point it should be renewed.
A. You must visit a licensed medical marijuana doctor for a re-evaluation. If you pass then the doctor will issue you a new medical marijuana certificate. A new application will then be sent to the Florida Department of Health, who will issue a new medical marijuana card to you.
A. You should submit a new application at least 45 days before the current card expires.
A. Yes it is. Doctors and the Florida Department of Health must follow the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) law. The HIPAA legislation protects the medical information of patients. Law enforcement is only apprised of your status as a medical marijuana patient if it is absolutely necessary for them to know it. An example is if you are found with medical marijuana on your person and the official needs to verify that you are a valid medical patient.
A. You should choose based on your dosage needs and the advice of your doctor. If you decide that vaping is the best method for you then you can take a look at our article about the Best Vaporizers for Beginners for some recommendations.
Florida Medical Marijuana Card: Final Thoughts
The process of getting a medical marijuana card might seem complex at first but with some patience you should be able to get through it. Getting through it is definitely worth it since it is a legal way of obtaining marijuana. Even if you know a simpler, faster way of obtaining marijuana, it isn’t worth it since it will most likely be illegal under Florida law. It is best if you go through the proper channels to obtain your card, it might take more time but it will be worth it in the end.