Floridians voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2016.
Since then, a legal medical marijuana system has existed in the state, providing patients with access to herbal medicine whether you are in Melbourne, Naples, Sarasota, Saint Pete or any other Florida city. In Florida, residents must obtain a recommendation from a registered physician in order to be approved for medical cannabis. Keep reading to find out more about the process you will have to navigate in order to obtain a legal Florida medical marijuana card.
What Should I Know About Medical Marijuana in Florida?
In 2016, Florida voters approved Amendment 2, legalizing medical cannabis in the state. This amendment has lead to the legalization of products such as oils, sprays, tinctures, capsules, edibles, and vapeable cannabis. After numerous delays by lawmakers, smokeable medical marijuana was legalized in March of 2019 and is expected to appear on dispensary shelves by summer 2019.
Despite the fact that Amendment 2 was ratified in early 2017, dispensaries have been slow to open up across the state. However, the recent lifting of the ban on smokable marijuana products is expected to encourage many more dispensaries to open up. Floridians are expected to have much better access to a much greater variety of cannabis products in the near future.
Residents who are currently struggling to access medical marijuana may benefit from ordering their cannabis online. Multiple dispensaries in the state now ship medical cannabis products state-wide for their patients.
Floridians should also be aware that the consumption of medical marijuana in public spaces is illegal. Legal cannabis products should only be consumed within the privacy of your own home. However, an ongoing court challenge could eventually change this.
How Can I Obtain A Medical Marijuana Card In The State of Florida?
In order to obtain a medical marijuana card in the state of Florida, you will have to go through the state’s approval process. Most of this process can be broken down into 3 simple parts. Its pretty simple whether you are in Naples, Sarasota or even Tampa.
PART 1 – Obtaining The Proper Paperwork
The first step you take should be to collect and prepare the proper medical paperwork for approval. In order to acquire a medical marijuana card in the state of Florida, you must be a permanent resident. As such, you will need to provide valid proof of residency. This can include a state driver’s license, a passport, or another form of photo identification.
Furthermore, you will want to collect any medical records that may be relevant to the condition for which you are seeking to obtain cannabis. Any prior paperwork you may have from other doctors or clinics may help in convincing a physician to prescribe you cannabis.
PART 2 – See A Physician To Obtain A Prescription
After collecting all the required paperwork, your next step should be to book an appointment with a certified physician. After receiving your paperwork, your physician will register you into the state’s Compassionate Care Registry (officially known as the Florida Marijuana Use Registry). In order to officially apply for a card, all patients must go through the registration process.
After you are registered, an official application for medical cannabis can be submitted by either you or your doctor. Patients should be aware that the state will require them to be a patient of the prescribing doctor for at least 3 months prior to receiving a recommendation for cannabis.
PART 3 – Complete The Registration Process Online
After your physician has approved you for the use of medical cannabis, your next step will be to complete the state’s registration process online. Completed applications are officially submitted to Florida’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use. After your application and paperwork are received, it can take up to 8 weeks to be officially approved. If your paperwork is incomplete, or if there is a problem with your application, this process can take even longer. As such, it is important to have everything in order from the beginning.
Which Conditions Can Help Me Qualify For a Medical Marijuana Card?
The state of Florida approves the use of cannabis for the following medical conditions:
- Back Pain
- Crohn’s Disease & Gut Disorders
- Hepatitis C
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) & Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Insomnia & Sleep Disorders
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Lyme Disease
- Migraine Headaches
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Muscle Spasms
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Severe & Chronic Pain
- Severe Nausea
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those above
- A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification
The state will also approve the use of marijuana for other ‘debilitating’ conditions similar to these ones. The approval of these conditions is typically determined by their symptoms and their severity. The decision to authorize the use of cannabis for other conditions will ultimately be up to the prescribing doctor.
How Long Is My Medical Card Good For?
Medical marijuana patients must undergo a yearly renewal process in order to keep their card. This process will require you to submit a renewal application a full 45 days before your current card is set to expire. Patients will also have to visit their doctor once every 30 weeks in order to determine the continuing need for medical cannabis.
Does My Medical Marijuana Card Work Outside of Florida?
Your Florida medical marijuana card may be able to grant you access to legal medical cannabis in other states. Currently, the states of Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire will legally recognize your Florida medical marijuana card. As more states legalize medical cannabis it is likely that this list will change, so make sure to check local laws before traveling to that state.
However, Florida medical marijuana patients should always be careful to not transport their cannabis across state lines. Those who do could face criminal charges regarding the transportation of a narcotic. This will apply even if you are traveling to states where cannabis is legal. As a strict rule of thumb, leave your marijuana at home when traveling to other states.
Can I Grow My Own Medical Marijuana?
No. The state of Florida has not legalized the public cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Medical cannabis patients will be subjected to standard criminal guidelines for cannabis cultivation.
Where Can I Find Official Resources?
The state of Florida has provided residents with multiple online medical marijuana resources. If you would like more information about the process of obtaining a medical marijuana card in Florida, check out the following official resources.
- Florida Department of Health – Office of Medical Marijuana Use: The Florida Department of Health
- Florida Medical Marijuana Use Registry: Medical Marijuana Use Registry
- Florida Official MMJ Resource Page: Know The Facts