Medical marijuana, or medical cannabis, has an interesting history within Florida, specifically regarding Florida law. Currently, you must have an ID card stating that you are a patient (or a caregiver of a patient) who is qualified to receive medical marijuana to make use of it.
Before getting into how to go through your Florida medical marijuana card application or how to qualify for medical marijuana use, it can be useful to look at the brief history of medical marijuana laws in Florida.
In 2013, all marijuana was banned in Florida, whether medical or otherwise. However, 2014 changed everything with the ‘Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act‘, which allowed the use of medical marijuana for a small number of conditions: epilepsy, cancer, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Following legislation such as the 2015 ‘Right To Try Act‘, allowing the use of experimental treatments for patients who were seriously ill due to their medical conditions, led to a wider range of medical marijuana use, especially after it became an approved medicine in the state of Florida in 2016.
Today, many qualified patients make use of medical marijuana to treat conditions like Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis (MS). It can relieve chronic pain and could help patients dealing with terminal conditions. However, it’s important to use medical marijuana properly and to apply for a medical marijuana (MMJ) registry identification card.
There are several steps to this process. Although it can seem intimidating, all of the steps that Florida residents need to take to be able to use medical cannabis, if they are qualified patients for the treatment, are outlined here.
The first stage to acquiring a medical marijuana registry identification card is to find a medical marijuana doctor. However, there are specific criteria that your doctor must meet in order to be a qualified physician who can aid you in the process of obtaining a medical marijuana registry identification card.
Florida’s Office Of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) has stricter rules and regulations around who is a qualified physician and who isn’t than other states. More details about these regulations can be found on the OMMU website, Knowthefactsmmj.com, on this page.
To keep it short and simple, a qualified physician must be in good standing professionally and have completed a two-hour-long course through the Florida Medical Association or Florida Osteopathic Medical Association. The OMMU website has a list of qualified physicians which you can access here.
But what happens once you find your qualified physician? From there, you’ll need to book an appointment with them. A full examination will be needed, as well as an overview of your medical records and medical history. It’s normal for your physician to ask you some questions about your medical history, so try to answer as truthfully and helpfully as you can.
The purpose of this appointment is for your qualified physician to determine whether you have a qualifying condition or not. Later on, we’ll run through a more complete list of qualifying conditions that can make you a qualified patient for medical marijuana. Your physician will use your medical history and their professional judgment to make a decision regarding this.
If your physician decides that you do have a qualifying condition, then congratulations – this is one of the first steps to acquiring a medical marijuana registry identification card. If they decide that you don’t then, unfortunately, you won’t be able to proceed. You could get a second opinion from another qualified physician if you wish to but patients without qualifying conditions are not allowed to use medical marijuana.
Once a qualified physician is satisfied that you have a qualifying condition, they will enter your information into the Florida Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR). From there, you can begin your medical marijuana registry identification card application.
By this point, your physician will have given you a patient ID number. Keep a record of this number, because it is crucial to your Florida medical marijuana card application. Writing it down in a diary or keeping an electronic copy of it on your computer or phone could be useful.
There are two ways to apply for a Florida medical marijuana card: online, or via mail. While applying online is generally the easiest way to apply, some qualified patients may wish to print out and fill in this form and then mail it to the OMMU office in Tampa. The address is as follows:
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
PO Box 31313
Tampa, FL 33631-3313
However, if you would rather apply online, you need to visit this website. This is the Florida Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry where you can register for a medical marijuana registry identification card online. The process can be split into three simple steps:
There are several documents that you will need to supplement your medical marijuana card application. For proof of residency, you will need either a valid Florida driver’s license or a utility bill that is no more than two months old.
Seasonal residents are still eligible for medical marijuana in Florida as long as they abide by several regulations. Firstly, they must live temporarily in Florida each year, for a period of at least thirty-one consecutive days. They must also have a temporary residence in Floria which they return to at least once a year. Finally, they must have registered to vote and/or pay income tax in a different jurisdiction or state.
For parents applying on behalf of children who are qualified patients, two pieces of identification are required: the child’s birth certificate and the parent’s ID card, whether that is a driver’s license or a Florida state ID card.
Caregivers of adults who are qualified patients will need either: written consent that is signed, dated, and notarized; a Health Care Surrogate Form that is signed, dated, and notarized; or the first page and signature page of a Power of Attorney that is dated and notarized. As well as one of these, the caregiver will need to pro.
You’ll receive your Florida medical marijuana card in the mail. Once you have your MMJ card, you’ll be able to go to a state-licensed medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) where they will fill your prescription. You can only get your medical marijuana from one of these licensed dispensary centers. If you don’t have one nearby, your nearest MMTC may deliver medical marijuana to you.
You can use the OMMU’s search function to find a licensed dispensary in the state of Florida near you. Your qualified physician may also be able to order low-THC medical marijuana delivery devices for you. It’s crucial to remember that you cannot grow your own medical marijuana as this is against Florida law and marijuana is still illegal according to federal law.
There are many medical conditions that can make someone a qualified patient for medical marijuana. These conditions have expanded greatly since the first allowance of medical marijuana in 2014 for just cancer, epilepsy, and ALS. If new patients have one of these qualifying conditions then it is likely that a physician would agree that you could use medical marijuana.
Other ways to qualify that aren’t those named medical conditions also exist. You could have a medical condition that is of the same type or comparable to those on the list, which your physician will assess for you. Or, you could have a terminal condition diagnosed by a different physician who is not the physician assessing you for medical marijuana use. Finally, you may have chronic pain that is nonmalignant which is caused by or comes from a qualifying medical condition but persists beyond the usual course of the condition.
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