FLORIDA MOVES FORWARD WITH MEDICAL MARIJUANA
In November 2016, Florida’s Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (Amendment 2) was approved by 71% of Florida voters. The legislation has allowed many patients who have been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition to legally buy and use marijuana, strictly for medical reasons. Florida Medical Marijuana is only allowed when a patient has a prescription from a certified Florida doctor.
Florida lawmakers announced on the 7th of June, 2017 that they had struck a deal that allowed the use of medical marijuana throughout the state. The new legislation will place a temporary cap on dispensaries and add newly licensed growers to the list of authorized Florida Medical Marijuana growers. Let’s take a look at what else we can expect from the new rules.
Florida Medical Marijuana Rules & Regulations Moving Forward
Even though medical marijuana has been legalized in 29 states, the Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies it as a Schedule 1 drug. Heroin, LSD, and ecstasy are also Schedule 1 drugs and have a high potential for abuse. Medical marijuana is used to manage many medical symptoms, like pain, nausea, anxiety, and much more. As time passes, many are hopeful that it will be reclassified and removed from the Schedule 1 list.
The good news is that Florida’s lawmakers have reached an agreement to make medical marijuana available in the state, putting an end to the deadlock that had hindered its regulation. This proposed new bill will cover marijuana growers and dispensaries, a smoking ban, proximity to schools (at least 500 feet away from any public or private school), and much more.
The new medical marijuana rules and regulations will add ten new licensed growers to cultivate low-THC marijuana. Cultivating marijuana is legal for licensed growers in several states in the US. In the state of Florida, several conditions have to be met before a license is issued. The bill also requires four more licenses for every 100,000 people who are placed on the state’s medical marijuana registry. Additionally, there will be a cap on the number of dispensaries and this cap will expire in 2020 unless further action is taken.
The prospective bill is still being fine-tuned but will require physicians to receive specialized training before they can approve patients to use medical marijuana. Users must also qualify for certification and get a medical marijuana card. To qualify, patients must have a “debilitating medical condition,” and doctors must show “reasonable belief” when issuing out the certification. Although possession and cultivation regulations have yet to be determined, it is expected that all pending issues will be addressed before implementation.
How to Get a Florida Medical Marijuana Card
Using marijuana for medical reasons is a contentious topic in the United States. While many organizations continue to criminalize medical marijuana, states like Florida have made it legal as a treatment for several medical conditions. In the Florida Medical Marijuana debates, the intricacies of the law and how to make the herb more accessible are the main topic of discussion. Public opinion plays a major role in these new policies and as business opportunities arise, the use and dispense of medical marijuana are the key issues.
Some marijuana users may claim to have a prescription for medical marijuana, but these prescriptions are illegal. As a Schedule I drug, there is a restriction on medical marijuana and doctors cannot prescribe it to their patients. Medical marijuana cannot be filled at a pharmacy. Instead, doctors must provide their patients with a recommendation or certificate in compliance with state laws.
Before applying for a medical marijuana certificate, you will need to provide extensive documentation that is proof of your medical condition. If you have no current and verifiable medical records, certification might not be possible. However, there are some situations that will enable you to receive qualification without full documentation. The FLMMCC (Florida Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics) requests documentation that is within the last 12 months. Below are 3 steps to qualifying:
Step 1 – Qualification
You must have a debilitating medical condition to be considered for a Florida Marijuana Card. To qualify, patients must have tried traditional treatments with supporting documentation and must be a resident of the state of Florida:
- Crohn’s Disease
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Step 2 – Physician
The second step is to find a certified physician. When you find one, you must first send your medical records for a full review. Then you will have to see the doctor for at least three months before they can consider you for the Florida Medical Marijuana Program. The physician must confirm that traditional treatments are not working. If additional documentation is needed, you will be contacted and asked to submit the required documents to help complete the approval process. At your certification appointment, the physician will ask you questions about your condition and if all is satisfactory, you will will receive a signed Physician Certification form, which you can use for the medical marijuana card application.
Step 3 – Fill Prescription
The approval means that you will be registered with the Compassionate Use Registry, which will issue you a medical marijuana card. Once your card arrives, you can get your medical marijuana prescription filled by a dispensary.