In 2016, Florida voters passed the Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, otherwise known as Amendment 2. And since then, more than 300,000 Florida residents have been using medical marijuana to treat various medical conditions.
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Later in 2018, smoking medical marijuana became legal. And if you are interested in understanding what is legal in regards to medical marijuana, this piece offers the full details. Also, it discusses the process of acquiring a medical marijuana card in Florida and how you can qualify for one.
And if you want some advice from a licensed medical marijuana specialist in Florida, you find a guide that connects you to the best of them. Finally, if you are looking for medical marijuana treatment recommendations, keep reading.
1. Medical Marijuana Laws in Florida
Marijuana first became legal in the state of Florida on the 8th of November 2016. Winning with 71% of all voters supporting medical marijuana use in Florida, this law set in motion other legislation to be approved to support marijuana in the future. This law became effective in January 2017, before the bill passed several months later.
By passing this bill, the senate allowed people struggling with chronic medical conditions, depression, sleeping disorders, and mental health issues a chance to combat their challenges. However, to hold a medical marijuana card in Florida, a licensed medical marijuana specialist should first qualify the condition you’re struggling with to be a debilitating medical condition.
Later, several laws supporting marijuana usage among patients passed. These laws include:
a. Smoking Medical Marijuana
The previously passed Amendment 2 paved the way for marijuana in the medical field. And in 2019, concern was raised over the conflict of smoking medical marijuana. The pre-existing ban on possessing weed intended for smoking contradicted the law passed by majority voters in 2016. After discussions about the constitution, Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 182 into law on the 18th of March of the same year. The action allowed medical marijuana cardholders to possess marijuana in a form intended for smoking.
b. Travelling with Marijuana Out of Florida
You must understand that not all states have legalized medical marijuana consumption. Therefore, traveling with medical marijuana out of the state of Florida is illegal. However, within Florida’s borders, you can use your marijuana in any form you please to treat different medical conditions. Carrying medical marijuana out of the state of Florida could result in some criminal charges.
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Also, the state of Florida allows permanent and seasonal residents to hold medical marijuana cards. To prove your residence, you should provide:
- A copy of your passport
- A copy of your driver’s license or ID provided by the state
- A utility bill paid in the last 2 months or less
- A title deed or mortgage statement, payment or lease agreement
On the other hand, seasonal residents can provide the following documents for validation:
- A copy of the leasing agreement
- A utility work order dated less than 60 days from the date issued
- Mail from a financial institution or account statements dating no later than 2 months
- Mail from the federal, state, municipal, or county government, not older than 2 months
- Finally, you can provide a residential address of your parents, or guardians living in Florida
If the physician is treating a minor, the following documents prove validation:
- A copy of the guardian’s driver’s license
- Birth certificate
- Current school registration records
c. Marijuana Cultivation
The issue of growing medical marijuana is not clear in Florida. The only thing that is crystal clear is that only licensed medical marijuana dispensing centers can grow their weed. Even so, they can only grow so much.
These measures are put in place to prevent a production deficiency or overproduction of medical marijuana.
These medical marijuana treatment centers have to abide by the laws enacted by the Department of health. That is where they obtain licenses to operate and also for their patients.
2. Meeting a Physician
Traditional methods of getting an appointment with physicians are stressful and time-consuming. Since medical marijuana patients are already dealing with a lot in their lives, it is only fair that the process is simplified. So, how do you get in touch with a legally operating medical marijuana physician in Florida? What do you need to schedule an appointment with a specialist?
Below is everything you need to know to kick start your process of getting a medical marijuana card in Florida.
a. The Qualifying Conditions
According to the state laws allowing patients to hold medical marijuana cards, you need to exhibit certain issues to be considered patients. Some of these qualifying conditions for Florida Medical Marijuana include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Any terminal illness diagnosed by a physician
- Chronic pain
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis(ALS) and many more
The only way to be sure whether you qualify for Florida medical marijuana is to consult a physician. So, how do you do this?
b. Consult with a Physician
The state laws clearly state that your medical condition should qualify for medical marijuana usage before you qualify for a card. And the only way this can happen is to have a pre-diagnosed condition that qualifies for medical marijuana eligibility.
For this process to be legit, there are measures put in place. For instance;
- Your health records and diagnosis can only be considered if presented to a licensed healthcare provider
- Also, you should provide all the details concerning your health for openness and truthfulness
- You can only get the go-ahead to use Florida medical marijuana if you are 18 years or older, else, you need some documentation from your caregivers or guardians
- You should also provide evidence to show whether you are a permanent or seasonal resident in the state of Florida
- Once your health condition qualifies for marijuana treatment, you can get a Florida medical marijuana card
As mentioned earlier, there have been efforts to make this process as quick and straightforward as possible. And with the advancement in technology, you can fill out an online form and schedule an appointment from the comfort of your home.
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Once your healthcare specialist deems your condition satisfactory for marijuana treatment, they recommend a card. From here, you get a user ID and password with which you can now use to buy medical marijuana from your local weed clinic.
c. Medical Marijuana Specialist Qualifications
Well, not all physicians can prescribe a marijuana treatment plan. There is a reason why some specialists can prescribe a treatment, while others cannot. So, what makes a physician capable of prescribing medical marijuana for your medical condition?
The answer is simple, a qualified medical physician who has completed a 2-hour state mandatory course. Once you qualify from college with a medical degree and have at least one-year residency, you can prescribe medical marijuana to a patient.
Like any other medication, the dosage can change to suit your patient’s health requirements.
3. Getting your Florida Medical Marijuana Card
The process of getting a medical marijuana card begins after you have a go-ahead from a licensed physician. You need a recommendation from your doctor, who approves your medical condition, as one worthy of treating with medical marijuana.
If you want to avoid the hectic and time consuming traditional vetting process, MDBerry offers you the solution. On this platform, you sign up, fill the form, and get your Florida medical marijuana card in no time.
a. Submit Your Application
After receiving your diagnosis, you also get a username and a password if you qualify to use medical marijuana. These credentials play an essential role in registering for a medical marijuana card with the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.
You log into their website, using your username and password, complete the online application process for the MMJ card.
During the application, you visit Your Card page on the Medical Marijuana Use Registry’s page. Then, you fill in all relevant data and pay a $75 processing fee.
Your pre-diagnosis information should be correct for you to advance in this process. The Florida medical marijuana card application process undergoes thorough scrutiny to ensure that all the paperwork is in order. Also, the officials review your details to ensure you are eligible for the card.
After that, the Department of Health reviews your application to verify your medical history and data provided. This process takes several weeks before you can finally receive your medical marijuana card.
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b. Getting Your MMJ Card
After completing the application process and waiting for verification, you receive an email from Florida declaring your approval or rejection of the application.
If you qualify for a card, the email’s subject should read something like:
“Medical Marijuana User ID Card Application has been approved”
Other than indicating that your medical marijuana application has gone through, this email from the state government comes with an attached soft copy of your medical marijuana user card.
This card is as good as the physical copy. It allows you to make purchases in marijuana clinics all across Florida.
After about 9-10 business days, the physical copy of your Florida medical marijuana card arrives at your doorstep. The address should be the one provided in the application process.
However, this is not a lifetime service card. You have to check with your healthcare specialist after every 7 months to determine eligibility to keep the card.
c. Handling a Lost Medical Marijuana Card
Things happen, and you could end up misplacing, damaging, or losing your medical marijuana user ID. In other cases, your card could be stolen. What do you do then? How do you go about a lost medical marijuana card in Florida?
Florida is all about the people, and when it comes to replacing your medical marijuana card, the easy and well-laid out process speaks for itself. These few steps include:
- First, you need to fill out a request form. This form, titled ‘Change, Replacement or Surrender,’ explains why you need a new card.
- Next, you have to pay a $15 fee
- Then, you send your filled out form to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMJ) in the Department of Florida Health Network
If you move your permanent residential address, this form, addressed to the OMMJ in Florida, allows you to change your address. However, this is only if you remain a resident in the State of Florida.
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If you lose your card or it gets stolen, make sure you report to your healthcare provider or the Florida medical marijuana authorities as soon as possible.
4. Choosing Your Medical Marijuana Treatment
Different medical conditions require different cannabinoids for treatment. That is why people use different strains of cannabis to treat their various physical and mental health challenges. And being the first time you are getting a medical marijuana user card, chances are, you have no idea what medication is the best for your health condition.
This is where the marijuana physician from your local dispensary comes in. These physicians have extensive knowledge of different marijuana types’ composition, making them perfect for giving a prescription best suited to your medical condition.
a. Allowable Quantities of Medical Marijuana in Florida
Florida laws only allow medical marijuana users to have a supply of cannabis enough for 30 days or less. And with this amount, you need to have a prescription from many state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.
If you do not want to walk to the dispensary, most of them offer a delivery service to ease the patients’ exhaustion.
If you are smoking your marijuana, you can only have 4 ounces at any one point. Also, you cannot buy more than 2.5 oz. (ounces) of weed in a 35-day interval.
Provided you do not exceed any of the limits mentioned above of marijuana you can possess or buy; you can use your medical marijuana; however you want, following a prescription.
5. Renewing Your Card
Health conditions improve, and chronic conditions start to heal. For this reason, the state of Florida put in place a limit to the period in which your medical marijuana card remains valid. One year from the date of registration, you need to renew your card to keep using a marijuana-based treatment.
a. The Procedure of Renewing Your MMJ Card
The procedure starts with a visit to your registered medical physician again. Once the healthcare provider gives the recommendation, you can apply for your medical marijuana user card online.
The renewal process is more straightforward compared to the initial application because you can present records of your prescription from a qualified marijuana specialist. This way, you do not have to revisit the hospital for your diagnosis.
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Your medical marijuana card has a one-year validity period. So, if you want to keep enjoying the benefits of marijuana treatment, set a reminder, one year after you received your card.
Remember the verification process takes several weeks. Therefore, you should apply for a new Florida medical marijuana card at least 30 days before your current one expires. By doing so, you maintain a constant dose of your medical marijuana treatment and avoid a relapse.
When renewing your card, you also have to pay a $75 application fee to the state registry. Also, the additional physician’s fee is mandatory in the renewal process.
This application is open 45 days before the expiration of your current card. To apply:
- Open https://mmuregistry.flhealth.gov/Public/LogIn in your computer or smartphone
- Log into your account by providing the correct username and password
- Open the ‘Your Card’ tab on the menu to view your current card
- Click the ‘Renew My Application’ tab below your personal demographic information
- Click ‘Renew’ to confirm your action
- Click on ‘Upload File’ to provide identification. Here, you can upload your Florida ID or Florida driving License
- At the bottom of the page, fill in your first name to sign your application
- Click on ‘Submit My Card Application,’ and a pop-up window notifies you that you have not yet paid
- Close that tab and click the button ‘Click here to pay online’ that appears after submission of your application
Florida laws on medical marijuana usage allow you to consume prescribed marijuana anywhere within the borders of Florida. And the application process is simple and straight forward.
Once you have your medical marijuana card, you can get your prescription from a qualified physician in any of the many medical marijuana dispensaries across the state. Follow the above-listed step and keep enjoying the benefits of marijuana treatment.
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