Everything to Know About Using A Medical Marijuana Card in Florida
Finding your MMJ Use Registration Identity card in the mail can be a big relief. Finally, you have access to your needed medication. However, you should remember that the guidelines attached to using a medical marijuana card are very thorough.
These guidelines are efforts (by the government) to ensure that medical marijuana products are only made available to the patients who need them. This means that for anyone who is planning to use a medical marijuana (MMJ) card, there are several factors you need to be aware of. These factors often come up as questions from patients of our registered physicians.
With these questions in mind, we’ve put together some FAQs which can help you during the process of using your MMJ card.
Where can I get medical marijuana in Florida?
Once you receive your MMJ Use Registration Identity card, you can contact one of the licensed treatment centres and fill an order, or visit a dispensary. According to The Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU), patients and caregivers can only access marijuana through a state approved medical marijuana treatment center. Here are some dispensaries recommended by GreenHealth to approved patients.
Can I smoke my medical marijuana?
On March, 18, 2019, Governor DeSantis signed the Senate Bill 182 which makes smoking medical marijuana legal. However, this law only makes it legal if your physician has determined that smoking is the one of the appropriate routes of administration for the patient. You can only be provided with a 35 day supply of medical marijuana for smoking, and can possess a maximum of 4 ounces on your person. Smoking in public places is still prohibited.
Can I cultivate my own medical marijuana?
It is illegal in Florida to grow or cultivate your own marijuana for personal or commercial purposes. According to Florida law, you can only purchase medical marijuana at licensed treatment centres and dispensaries. These centres have gone through the needed processes to safely grow, cultivate, and dispense medical marijuana. Please remember that marijuana is still illegal under the federal law. If caught growing marijuana in Florida, you will be handed over to law enforcement for interrogation and investigation.
How much medical marijuana can I consume?
Your daily dosage will be dependent on your doctor’s prescription. When you receive your MMJ card, your physician will disclose how much medical marijuana will be needed for your monthly treatment. Your recommended dosage will determine how much marijuana you will be allowed to purchase, and what marijuana products will be made available to you (e.g. low-THC or high-CBD). It goes without saying that you should follow the dosage provided to ensure that your medication lasts through the needed time frame.
Is there a difference between medical marijuana and low-THC?
Medical marijuana includes all parts of the cannabis plant: the seed, leaf, extracted resin, mixtures using some parts of the plants, and so on. Low-THC marijuana is one of the elements which can be extracted from the cannabis plant through specific cultivation methods. Low-THC are the dried flowers of the cannabis plants which contain the health benefits, but little of the psychoactive effects usually associated with marijuana.
I have a caregiver. Can they purchase my medical marijuana for me?
Your caregiver can help you to acquire and administer medical marijuana treatments. Your caregiver should be someone who you trust and can help out with your medical needs. They should be able to accompany you to treatment centres, or go in your place if you are not up to the task.
Depending on the severity of your illness, you can also volunteer to be a caregiver to someone else. However, you will be required to apply for a caregiver card (separate from your patient card) to access medical marijuana for their treatments.
*Important Requirements for a Qualified Caregiver
A caregiver must be:
- 21 years or above.
- Able to provide a written document which states their agreement to assist a patient with their usage of medical marijuana.
- Providing care for only one patient, except they are legally exempted from this clause.
A caregiver must not be:
- A certified physician or doctor.
- Receiving any form of payment or compensation beyond the expenses incurred while providing the patient with a service.
- Employed at/affiliated with a medical marijuana treatment centre, dispensary, or laboratory.
Encourage your caregiver to review Section 381.986(6), F.S so they are familiar with the regulations attached to the role.
Can I take my medical marijuana to another state?
No. Your MMJ card is only valid within Florida. As stated earlier, possession of marijuana is still a federal crime and you can be prosecuted for possession, especially in states where marijuana is still completely illegal. Avoid crossing state lines with any form of medical marijuana products. Alternatively, when visiting another state temporarily, you can ask your physician for a signed letter of necessity. A signed letter is generally accepted by dispensaries in other states where MMJ has been legalized.
My card will expire soon. How do I apply for a renewal?
To maintain a valid medical marijuana use card, you must submit a renewal application every year. This application should be submitted within 45-days of expiration, not before. Both the patient and their caregiver are qualified to complete this application process. If you’re unsure of the expiration date of your MMJ card, it’s printed on the front of the card.
Mistakes that Could Cause You to Lose Your Medical Marijuana Card
Now that you have a good understanding of how to use your medical marijuana Use Registration Identity card, you should also be familiar with the prohibited actions of the card bearers. On the issue of medical marijuana, the Department of Health works directly with criminal justice agencies to ensure that patients are not misusing their access to MMJ.
If a criminal justice agency finds a card holder breaking one of several laws under ch. 893, their license could be suspended or revoked.
Such situations could include:
- Providing falsified, fraudulent, or misleading information during the application process. If discovered after issuing the MMJ card, the card will be revoked.
- Altering or modifying the card in any way after it has been received.
- Failure to notify the Office of Medical Marijuana Use of any health development that could affect the patient’s qualification for medical marijuana.
- Purchasing medical marijuana in a quantify higher than the recommended dosage provide by the physician.
- Purchasing medical marijuana from sources other than licensed treatment centres and dispensaries.
- Using a medical marijuana product, excluding low-THC, in a public place such as public transportation, aircraft, or school grounds. This is considered a misdemeanor of first degree.
- Violation any of the regulations stated under ch. 893 and other sections which may be included in the future.
Anyone caught breaking these rules as stipulated in ch. 893 will not be convicted if they submit their MMJ license on or before their court hearing date. Violating these rules will also make it difficult, or even impossible, for that individual to acquire a new medical marijuana card in future.
To ensure that you always have access to the medication you need, it’s important to get familiar with the regulations and avoid breaking them. Once an individual is charged with a violation, their card is immediately revoked. Depending on the outcome of the following investigation, the individual is either suspended from MMJ access, fully revoked, or given full access again.
Your caregiver’s access could also be suspended
Similar guidelines apply to caregivers. The access of any caregiver will be revoked if it is discovered that they source for medical marijuana anywhere other than a certified treatment centre. Under ch. 893, caregivers are also not allowed to transfer MMJ from one person to another. If caught, their access will be revoked immediately, and their case may be referred to a criminal justice agency, depending on the offence. Also, once a patient’s MMJ card is revoked, their caregiver’s access is also revoked.
Note: If a physician determines that their patient no longer needs medical marijuana in a healthcare capacity, they can also revoke the patient’s certification to access MMJ. Your doctor is expected to practice in compliance with the legal practice standards. This means that they closely monitor your health progress, and will periodically decide if your medical marijuana treatment is still needed or not. However, MMJ licensed doctors are very familiar with the health benefits of MMJ, and will not pull their patient’s access without a good reason.
Enjoy the Benefits of your Medical Marijuana Card
With your new MMJ card, you can enjoy continuous access to medication for your health needs. Your card also provides you with access to different licensed dispensaries which are closely regulated. This way, you are assured that the MMJ products you buy are of high quality, and cultivated mostly for their health benefits. Owning a medical marijuana card also gives you less restrictions as long as you follow Florida laws while administering your medication.
With a simplified application process, less costs, better products, and less usage restrictions, there has never been a better time to own a medical marijuana use registration ID card.