Cannabis is widely recognized as a holistic aid for a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain, migraines, and arthritis, as well as for aiding with pain and appetite loss due to cancer treatments. Since 2016, the use of cannabis has been legal in the state of Florida for medical purposes. If you live in the state of Florida, or are a seasonal resident, and have one or more of the qualifying medical conditions, you may apply for a Medical Marijuana Card. While recreational cannabis is not yet legal, your Medical Marijuana Card provides access to legally dispensed cannabis at stores called Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC) in the state of Florida. As an additional benefit, you won’t have to pay state taxes on the purchase of cannabis, or devices used to dose marijuana for medical purposes either. Listed below are the conditions that help you qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida, and your step-by-step instructions on how to obtain one.
To minimize the spread of COVID-19, regulators have been quick to put in place emergency measures to reduce potential exposure to the virus. As a result of these measures, cannabis laws in Florida (and across the country) have been temporarily changed. The information provided here has been updated to reflect the new temporary COVID-19 cannabis rules for patients seeking a Florida state medical marijuana certification.
Qualifying medical conditions for a Medical Marijuana Card in the state of Florida
Patients seeking a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida will need to have at least one of the following qualifying medical conditions in Florida diagnosed by a physician:
- HIV positive
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- A terminal condition
- Chronic nonmalignant pain
Many of the qualifying medical conditions for Florida have similar symptoms that may be treated with cannabis. The most common complaints are pain and gastrointestinal issues.
The 4 steps to obtain a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida
How to Get Your Card
Step 1: Qualifications
In addition to having at least one of the qualifying medical conditions listed above, a patient must fulfill a residency requirement to meet the necessary criteria for obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida. Patients will simply need to supply a Florida driver’s license or a valid Florida identification card as proof of residency.
Adult Seasonal Residency
Florida is known for being a sunshine state, which makes it a popular destination for a second home in the colder months. These types of residents are referred to as “Adult Seasonal” and may qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida so long as they live in the state for at least 31 consecutive days each calendar year and will need to return to Florida at least once a year.
Seasonal residents seeking a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida will need to show a copy of two (2) proofs of residence. These may include:
- A deed, mortgage, or monthly statement
- A residential rental or lease agreement
- Proof of residential address from a parent, step-parent, legal guardian, or another person you are living with
- A utility hook up or work order for utilities within 60 days
- A utility bill that is no more than 2 months old
- Mail from a financial institution, federal, state, county, or municipal government agency that is no more than 2 months old
Step 2: Find a Doctor
Even if you know you have one of the qualifying medical conditions, you will need to be diagnosed by a physician. There is a common misconception that any doctor can certify you. While a physician can diagnose a patient with the qualifying medical condition, unless they are currently certified as a Medical Marijuana Qualified Ordering Physician by the Florida Medical Association or the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association, they would be required to physically see the patient and would need to complete additional paperwork. This can be an ordeal for those patients suffering from debilitating pain.
Heally connects patients with Florida-certified Medical Marijuana physicians for their initial in-person evaluation. Once care has been established, patients may connect online with their doctor should they have any questions or concerns at a later point. Click HERE to start your registration with Heally.
Step 3: Consultation
You and your physician will have an initial consultation to determine if cannabis is the right medicine for your condition. The consultation includes a complete review of your medical history, your current symptoms, and any prescriptions you are currently taking. Doctors will need to diagnose you with one of the qualifying medical conditions if you do not currently have a diagnosis.
During the consultation, your physician will discuss with you:
- How cannabis can relieve the symptoms you are having.
- Any side effects that may be associated with usage.
- The type of cannabis, dosage, and methods that are best for your exact symptoms.
These consultations are private, just like they would be with your physician, and are the perfect time to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about cannabis and CBD use.
Step 4: Florida Marijuana Card
Once you and your physician agree on a course of treatment for your medical condition, you will need to register with the state of Florida and receive an ID card. Your physician will handle the paperwork for registration in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.
In addition to being registered, you will need to apply for your Registry Identification Card and have received it before you will be able to purchase cannabis products at the Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC). This may be done online at Florida’s Medical Marijuana Card website.
Renewing Your Florida Medical Cannabis Card
On March 16th, 2020, Florida issued an executive order to allow MMJ patients to temporarily renew their medical cannabis cards remotely, without requiring an in-person doctor’s visit.
This emergency measure only affects medical cannabis patients who are currently registered and whose medical cannabis cards are expiring soon. Originally, this emergency rule was set to expire on April 15th but has since been updated to extend until May 8, 2020.
In Florida, you can renew a medical marijuana card up to 45 days before its expiration date. If your registration is expiring on or before May 30th, 2020, you should consider requesting a remote visit with your doctor for renewal while this law is still in effect. By doing so, you will be able to avoid potential exposure to the novel coronavirus at your doctor’s office.
Many patients living with the medical conditions that would qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida may be challenged with mobility, limiting their ability to visit MMTCs or to administer their own medicine. In these situations, Florida acknowledges that caregivers will likely fill this role. There is a special caregiver certification that is needed to transport, handle, and administer cannabis. Patients may qualify for only one caregiver who must be 21 years of age or older and may not be a physician of the patient or employed by a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center or testing lab. Caregivers will need to obtain their certification and be registered by a physician in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.
Obtain your medicine
Florida residents can obtain cannabis exclusively at one of the 122 Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC) across Florida. Visit the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) website for a full list of treatment centers. If you do not have an MMTC near you, contact the closest center for delivery options.
Important considerations for Florida residents
Currently, only medical marijuana is legal in Florida, which means that you cannot dispense or sell your purchased marijuana to anyone. Additionally, you will only be able to possess up to three 70-day supplies or up to four ounces of herbal cannabis. It is still illegal to grow your plants at home.
For those seasonal residents, it is important to remember that there is no reciprocity with another state, which means that you should not cross state lines with marijuana in your possession.
Florida State Medical Marijuana Law Reference: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017A/8A/BillText/e1/PDF