Marketing marijuana in Miami was illegal for years and finally, the Florida government has signed a legislation legalizing the use of smokable medical weed. You can now find advertisement of weed on the top of taxi cabs. After Amendment 2 that legalized medical marijuana in 2016, advertisements for marijuana doctors are seen popping up on cabs, local weeklies and billboards. People fascinated about medical marijuana now have a new way of consuming it apart from vapes, oils, lotions, capsules and tinctures which were already available after 2016. Dispensaries have recently started opening up in big numbers across the state and today, there are dozens of stores open for business. However, more and more residents are concerned about how to get medical marijuana in Florida.
In this post, we have tried to explain in detail how to get medical marijuana in Florida to benefit from its amazing health benefits.
Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in Florida
In order to qualify for getting medical marijuana in Florida, it is essential that the person has been diagnosed with an ailment that is on the list of the state’s medical marijuana conditions. These conditions include diseases like Cancer, Epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Glaucoma, Crohn’s Disease, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Chronic Seizures, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Chronic Nonmalignant Pain. In addition to these, the conditions similar to the ones in the list and condition diagnosed by a physician other than the one issuing the certificate are permitted to get medical marijuana in Florida. For example, if you have an autoimmune disease similar to multiple sclerosis, like lupus, your physician can prescribe medical marijuana for you.
A person suffering from any of these conditions can obtain the medical marijuana card or a permit to visit dispensaries to buy medical marijuana products with the recommendation of a local physician. A licensed marijuana doctor in Florida can issue a written recommendation after verifying that the person has a condition qualifying for the use of medical marijuana. Anybody with a professional medical degree and minimum one year of post-graduate residency is allowed to prescribe marijuana after going through a 2-hour state-mandated course.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida
Ever since the state legalized the use of medical marijuana back in 2017, the general process of application and obtaining medical marijuana has remained the same to a great extent. You can consult any of the licensed marijuana doctors in Florida and get yourself examined to prove that you are affected by one of the listed conditions for medicinal marijuana use and also that you have tried other treatments and they did not work. Your doctor would sign off an application which you can send to the Florida Department of Health with a check of $75 which is the application processing fee. The Department reviews and approves your application after which you receive the marijuana card you can use to shop for your weed at a dispensary.
Once you receive the card, you are listed on the Compassionate Use Registry that lists people in Florida who are prescribed marijuana. The prescription is valid for 30 weeks after which you will need the doctor to sign off again after the in-person examination.
As a resident with verification of residency in Florida, the process of getting medical marijuana card comprises of the following steps:
Step 1: Make an appointment with the doctor
The first step in obtaining a medical marijuana card in Florida is to consult a physician with your medical records to receive a signed statement. The doctor you visit should possess a medical marijuana license in Florida and must be registered with the Medical Marijuana Use Registry of the state. You can look for the latest list of medical marijuana doctors in Florida to choose one. Moreover, you must be a patient of the doctor for minimum three months before you receive the recommendation for medical marijuana. You also need to be a Florida resident in order to apply for the card and you will require the proof of residency like a passport or other photo identification.
Step 2: Go To The Medical Marijuana doctor consultation
Once you find a qualified physician in Florida, send your medical history to the office and make appointment for the medical marijuana doctor, the doctor enters your name and other details into the Florida Marijuana Use Registry or the Compassionate Care Registry run by the Department of Health. Only when you are entered officially in the registry, you can apply for the Florida Medical Marijuana Card.
Step 3: Complete the application and submit it online
When your doctor has approved your use of medical marijuana and entered you into the Registry, you can proceed to submit the application to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use or get the physician office submit on your behalf. Submission of application is perhaps the longest part of this process as in some cases, it can take up to two months for the Department to review the application and issue the card even when all the papers are in order. The online application process is simple. Application processing fee is $75 and it can take 5 business days to process online payments. You can expect your application to be processed after another five days after which it gets approved.
You need not wait for the medical marijuana card to start shopping at dispensaries. Once your application has been approved, you get identification through email which you can use to shop medical marijuana until the physical card arrives.
Florida Medical Marijuana Card Costs
Patients willing to apply for a medical marijuana card in Florida have to pay two types of fees:
1. The charges of seeing a licensed doctor whose charges vary depending on the location
2. The registration fee for the medical marijuana card application, which is $75.
The applicant also requires full face passport-type color photographs. The cost of consulting a qualified marijuana doctor in Florida varies though it is about $150 on average. Once issued, the card needs to be renewed annually, again costing the registration fee and consultation charges.
Where Do You Get Medical Marijuana in Florida
Simply getting a medicinal marijuana card is not enough to get your medicine. You will need to visit a state-approved dispensary to buy medical marijuana in Florida. There are about 100 dispensaries in the state run by 14 licensed companies. In order to avoid being caught by the police even when your marijuana is legally prescribed, it is necessary that you buy from one of these. If you are caught with an approved CBD oil product, you will need to prove to the cops that you purchased it from a licensed dispensary and show them your card.
What Can You Buy at a Florida Dispensary
Here in Florida, you are not allowed to enter the store with your prescription and pick up an ounce of bud. You can not even pick up a pack of minty-delicious brownies like in other legal states. You get oils, extracts, tinctures and smokable marijuana. A bill was passed this March to remove the ban on smokable marijuana after which patients are permitted to buy up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower at an interval of 35 days. However, buying the weed is not so simple in Florida as in other states.
Florida dispensaries are different from those in Colorado. You don’t find the product in the jar for examination. Everything is packed in tight containers which you can’t see into and sold by weight and patients are not allowed to sort through the jars to pick the nicest looking product. Smokable weed, at this time, is not in the dispensaries as the Department of Health is working on the rules.
How Beneficial is Medical Marijuana?
The most popular use of medical marijuana in Florida is for pain relief. Most people suffering from chronic conditions prefer using marijuana as it is far less addictive as compared to opioids and seem to ease the pain associated with multiple sclerosis and general pain. According to medical experts, medical marijuana it an amazing muscle relaxant and is known to reduce tremors in conditions like Parkinson’s disease and help with other disorders like fibromyalgia. Medical marijuana is also known to stimulate appetite in HIV/AIDS patients and others affected by suppressed appetite due to some kind of treatment or medical condition. It is also used to help with weight loss and nausea during chemotherapy and can even be used to treat glaucoma.
A promising area of medical marijuana is its use for post-traumatic stress disorder and for people suffering from pain associated with HIV, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.