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Guide to Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida

Guide to getting your medical marijuana card in Florida.
The State of Florida passed the Compassionate Use Act in 2014, legalizing medical marijuana for residents with qualifying conditions. Since then, the laws have continued to evolve to include more illnesses, though the state still does not have a recreational adult-use cannabis program. After legalization, there was still a lot of confusion around the process for qualifying for a medical marijuana card. In 2017, the Florida Senate amended an existing section of the Florida Statutes to include provisions directing the Florida Department of Health to develop a statewide public service education campaign. Let’s dive into some of the topics covered by that campaign and other useful tips and tricks to obtaining your medical marijuana card in Florida. Qredible® created the Q-Trust Registry, the first and only system that provides a digital registry and integrated network of validated and verified suppliers. We’re launching a free app for consumers soon–sign up to learn more.

Qualifying Conditions

In Florida, a qualified patient must be a permanent or seasonal resident of the state, be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition, and must obtain a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card. The following are the qualifying conditions:
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those listed
  • A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician issuing the certification
  • Chronic nonmalignant pain caused by a qualifying medical condition or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of that condition

Finding a Qualified Physician

Florida created a state registry of licensed medical marijuana practitioners. All doctors found in the registry are qualified to assess and approve patients for medical cannabis use. These qualified physicians must:
  • Have an active, unrestricted license under specific Florida Statutes.
  • Complete the two-hour continuing medical education course and examination provided by the Florida Medical Association.
Another good place to start is your primary care physician. Even if they aren’t a licensed practitioner, many doctors are more comfortable with speaking on the subject in recent years and they can refer you to a specialist that can help. 

Medical Evaluation and Recommendation

When you visit a doctor for a recommendation for medical cannabis use, you should expect a comprehensive visit. All basics will be covered–vital signs will be checked, your medical history will be discussed, and a quick exam will take place.  If this is a doctor who is unfamiliar with your history, you should bring any documentation that shows your diagnosis of a qualifying condition and you should be prepared to discuss all symptoms that led to you seeking a medical marijuana card.  Your physician and their staff should be able to answer any questions or alleviate any concerns you may have about the entire process. If the doctor finds that you are well-suited to benefit from medical cannabis, you will receive a physician recommendation and the doctor will enter the certification into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.

Registering with the Florida Medical Marijuana Use Registry

Once a patient is added to the registry by a qualified doctor, that patient must apply for their Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification card. If the patient requires assistance from a caregiver, the caregiver must also go through the same process.  The Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) was created to help patients, caregivers, and physicians find the information and resources necessary to access the state’s medical marijuana program, including a photo, proof of residency, signature, and payment. The OMMU website has links to the patient and caregiver ID card application forms, instructions on how to apply both online and by mail, and allows you to check on your status through the process. Online applications take an average of 10 business days for approval, with applications via mail taking an additional 3-5 days.

Receiving the Medical Marijuana Card

While waiting for approval, you should regularly check the status to ensure no additional requirements or follow-up documentation is needed. Once you receive the approval notification from the Florida Department of Health, you can then access the electronic version of your card or print it out for use at a Licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Center.

Visiting a Licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC)

Licensed MMTCs are the only businesses in Florida authorized to dispense medical cannabis to qualified patients and caregivers. MMTCs are subject to authorization at three stages: cultivation, processing, and dispensing.  You can search for all licensed MMTCs on the OMMU website to find the one closest to you with the selection of products you are looking for. Most MMTCs have websites you can search through to view their offerings before visiting the location. The employees at the store should be knowledgeable about every product, how it will make you feel, and the dosage you should take to receive the most benefit. Be sure to take and present your medical marijuana card at the MMTC.

Understanding Legal Limitations and Regulations

It is important to familiarize yourself with all legal limitations regarding cannabis use in your state. Our FAQ guide for medical marijuana in Florida includes a list of ways to consume medical cannabis and its legal possession limits, including smoking, edibles, vaporizers, pills, concentrates, and topicals.  Further, there are ever-evolving laws and regulations regarding the cultivation and transportation of medical marijuana. Even as a Florida Medical Marijuana Cardholder, you are expected to know and follow all local laws.

Renewing the Medical Marijuana Card

To maintain an active Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification card, patients and caregivers must submit a renewal application each year. Renewal applications are available beginning 45 days prior to the card’s expiration date, which can be found on the front of the card.

Medical Marijuana and Safe Commerce – Get in Qredible®

Even with a Florida medical marijuana card and shopping at a licensed MMTC, finding safe, high-quality marijuana can be easier said than done. Many legal products sold by licensed dispensaries have tested positive for contaminants and other toxins. Others have inaccurate labels regarding potency and dosage. Medical marijuana users like yourself need access to reliable, validated information to help purchase the right product for their unique condition. In Qredible®, medical cannabis users in Florida can gain access to reviews, brand history, and validated information about the brands they purchase. With this, we can create a safer industry that prioritizes honesty, transparency, quality, and safety. Sign up now to be notified when Qredible® for consumers launches.

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