Since the elections in 2016, Florida residents with qualifying conditions have been able to buy and use medicinal marijuana, however, the legislation states that it can only be purchased from one of the Sunshine State’s licensed dispensaries.
If you need to obtain medicinal marijuana to relieve your symptoms you will need to have an appointment with a licensed physician who can then help you to obtain the MMJ card that you need. Once this is in place, you can then visit your nearest dispensary and get the cannabis products that you need to gain relief. So, how do you find the closest dispensary to where you live? Let’s take a closer look.
How Can I Obtain Marijuana Legally in Florida?
In Florida, unlike several other states, the recreational use of cannabis is still illegal. That means that you cannot buy it anywhere in the state for this purpose, even from a licensed dispensary.
The only people who can legally obtain marijuana is those who have a written recommendation from their physician due to their qualifying medical condition and who have then registered with the state’s patient registry and obtained an MMJ card. This card verifies that the patient holds their states as a state-registered, legal medicinal cannabis patient, thus exempting them from any civil or criminal penalties linked to using cannabis.
Which Qualifying Conditions Are There?
All states with legal medicinal cannabis have a number of qualifying conditions which patients must suffer from in order to obtain medicinal cannabis products from state-licensed dispensaries. In Florida, these conditions include:
- 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
Where Are The Dispensaries in Florida?
The Florida DoH Office of Medical Marijuana Use has given authorization for a number of MMTCs (Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers). These are otherwise called dispensaries. At the present time, these represent the only way in which you can legally obtain cannabis in Florida since they’re the only organizations in the state which are authorized for dispensation to qualified caregivers and patients.
At the moment, there are around 14 organizations in Florida (although this number may change over time) all of which have been granted an active license by the state. These cover only a particular geographical area or county, like Naples or Sarasota. There are currently more than 40 different retail locations available statewide where you can buy legal medicinal marijuana with the correct paperwork and physician’s recommendation.
It’s important to be aware, however, that under the terms and conditions of Amendment 2, municipal and local city governments statewide are permitted to limit or even completely ban medical marijuana dispensaries from operating with their own jurisdictions.
Luckily, there are many convenient locations of MMTCs in Florida. You can find your closest outlet by using one of the free dispensaries locator services like Weedmaps. You could also visit the website for each individual MMTC to find the nearest location to your home.
Dispensary Brands in Florida
There are several brands of dispensary operating in Florida at the current time. Obviously, these are subject to change in the future and more may be added to their number. The brands include:
- Columbia Care
- Harvest House of Cannabis
- Liberty Health Sciences
- One Plant
- Surterra Wellness
These brands have physical dispensary locations in communities in their areas for patients’ in-store pickup as well as offering delivery services. These delivery services may be statewide or may be restricted solely to the dispensary’s local area. Check out our dispensary guide for more information.
Do Florida Dispensaries Offer Delivery Services?
The state of Florida is working hard to expand access to medicinal marijuana for all MMJ cardholders. The DoH has recognized that there are some patients who will not be able to get to their local dispensary outlet in person due to their condition or lack of transport. Therefore, there is a well-established delivery service that can transport medicinal cannabis from caregivers to cardholders and from the dispensary itself to the home of the cardholder to facilitate their access.
Not only are there delivery services offered by most physical dispensaries but there are also some dispensaries in Florida that do not have a physical presence in the state but offer a delivery-only service to qualifying patients who buy online. These currently include:
- Columbia Care Florida
- The Green Solution
Some of these dispensaries operate across a very wide area of the state while others operate only within very small local communities.
The delivery-only dispensaries may either offer their services within a localized area or state-wide. At the present time, KSGNF and Columbia Care Florida are both able to offer a statewide delivery service, opening up the possibility for medicinal marijuana access for any patient regardless of their location. Meanwhile, the Green Solution can only offer their delivery service within a 120-mile radius of their base in Gainesville, although this may change in the future. It’s always wise to call your nearest dispensary to find out more about their delivery options.
How To Choose A Dispensary
Once you have located the nearest dispensaries to you in Florida, you’ll need to select the right one to suit your needs. In some areas, you may have a limited choice while in others you may have a wider selection. How do you pick the best one for you?
Here are some things that you should look out for when it comes to choosing a reputable and legal provider of medicinal cannabis products in Florida:
- Are the staff knowledgeable? Can they explain the products to you in a clear and understandable way? Can they recommend the right strain of cannabis to help treat your specific condition?
- Does the dispensary have a strong reputation in its local community? Do local people think that it offers excellent service with a professional and efficient operation?
- Does the dispensary offer a wide range of products to suit your needs? Whether you’re keen to smoke your cannabis, take it in edible form or take it as a tincture, you’ll find a good choice in the top dispensaries in the state.
Ask these questions and you’ll be sure to choose the right dispensary in your area to meet your medicinal marijuana needs.