Medical marijuana is legal in Florida. With the right information, it’s easy to get a medical marijuana card in the Sunshine State. Read on to find out what you need to know to enroll in Florida’s medical marijuana program.
How to Qualify for Florida’s Medical Marijuana Program
If you have one of the following medical diagnoses, you may be eligible to participate in Florida’s medical marijuana program:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to the others listed.
- A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician 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 qualifying medical condition.
If you want to enroll in Florida’s medical marijuana program, you’ll need to receive a physician’s certification confirming your diagnosis from a qualified medical physician. Florida’s Department of Health provides a list of physicians who have completed the required training and are registered with the state. You can also use the physician search tool to find a qualified doctor.
Completing the MMJ Card Application
There are two ways to obtain a card in Florida: through a third-party application service such as Veriheal or on your own (the less easy way).
Buying your card online
Between finding a qualified physician, scheduling an appointment, obtaining the right paperwork, and navigating Florida’s medical marijuana process, it’s possible that you might let something slip through the cracks, slowing down or preventing your application’s approval. If you don’t want to take that risk, consider using a service like Veriheal. For $199, Veriheal will connect you with a qualified physician and guide you all the way through your application’s approval. If you are not approved, they'll give you a full refund.
How to get your card on your own
If you’d rather apply for a medical marijuana card on your own, you can do so by following the state’s instructions. The first step is scheduling an appointment with a qualified doctor. If the doctor confirms your diagnosis and determines that medical marijuana is an appropriate treatment for your condition, they’ll enter you into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry and give you a patient ID number. It’s important that you give your physician a correct email address. Your doctor will use this email address to enter you into the registry, and it’s how you’ll receive important updates about your registration status. Once you confirm that your doctor has added you to the registry, you can use your Patient ID number to begin the medical marijuana card application process. In order to successfully complete an application, you will need the following documents and materials:
- A copy of your Florida-issued photo ID
- The $75 application fee as a check or money order written out to the Florida Department of Health
- A color photo taken within the past 90 days that shows your full face and is 2X2 inches in size
- Proof of residency
Adult patients can appoint caregivers who will also need to complete an application. Minor patients are required to designate a caregiver. The application packet itself is very simple to complete. You can complete the application online using the credentials your physician gives you or you can submit a paper application to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, PO Box 31313, Tampa, FL 33631-3313. The only information you need to report in your application is your name, birthday, social security number, address, phone number, and email address.
Renewing Your Medical Card
Florida medical marijuana cards expire one year after the date of the qualified physician’s first order for your medical marijuana. To keep your medical marijuana registration active, you and your caregivers will need to renew your card annually. You can submit your renewal application up to 45 days before your card expires. To renew your card, you will need to log into your Medical Marijuana Use Registry account. Once you are logged in, you can select the “Begin Renewal” link to initiate the renewal process. You’ll need to upload a new copy of your Florida photo ID and proof of residency. As with your initial card application, you will have to submit payment for your application to be processed. The renewal fee is $75. You’ll also need to pay a $2.75 processing fee if you pay online.
Where Can I Buy Medical Marijuana in Florida?
It is illegal to grow your own medical marijuana in Florida. Patients with valid, state-issued medical marijuana cards can access legal medical marijuana from licensed medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs), the only legal place to purchase cannabis medicine. In Florida, all MMTCs are vertically integrated. This means that each establishment cultivates, processes, and sells their own cannabis products. As of this writing, Florida has issued MMTC licenses to 22 operators. Each of these operators has several locations throughout the state. You can find an MMTC near you by searching through the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) online directory of licensed MMTCs.
Medical Marijuana Possession and Consumption Rules
In Florida, legal medical marijuana refers to the following two types of cannabis products:
Your physician will determine which type of cannabis product you can purchase from an MMTC. When Florida first legalized medical marijuana, it prohibited smokeable cannabis and edibles. However, multiple changes to the law have removed those bans, making it possible for patients to consume cannabis through all delivery methods. Patients can use cannabis in a private residence. However, even if registered with the state, there are certain places where cannabis consumption is illegal. Medical marijuana patients are prohibited from consuming cannabis in the following locations:
- In public
- On any form of public transportation
- In a state correctional institution
- On any vehicle including cars, aircrafts, and boats
- On the school grounds
- At work (unless the patient’s employer has approved cannabis use)
The safest place to consume your cannabis medicine is at home. If you are a renter, make sure that you understand your property-owner or landlord’s cannabis consumption policies before smoking in your home.