About The Florida Medical Marijuana Program
In the elections of November, 2016, a constitutional amendment was passed in Florida to permit the use of medical marijuana by patients suffering from a list of serious medical conditions. The bill passed by a landslide with 71 percent of voters in favor. Amendment 2 superseded a previous law which allowed the use of low-THC cannabis extracts to treat a short list of potentially life-threatening conditions.
Florida Marijuana Laws
Recreational Marijuana Laws
Qualifying Debilitating Conditions
How To Get A Marijuana Card
Where To Buy Legal Marijuana
Florida Cannabis FAQ, Q&A
The list of “debilitating conditions” treated by medical marijuana in Florida was broadened to include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, or any other which a physician believes constitutes a “debilitating medical condition of the same kind or class as or comparable to those above” for which the medical use of marijuana would outweigh the potential health risks.
Let’s take a more detailed look at the history of Florida cannabis laws and the requirements for taking part in the program
Florida Marijuana Laws History
Several attempts were made to legalize medical marijuana between 1978 and 2014 with no success. Then, in 2014, Florida legislators passed the “Charlotte’s Web” bill, a measure which allowed the use of low-THC, high-CBD extracts for the purpose of treating a short list of serious conditions such as intractable epilepsy. Lawmakers expanded the program in 2016 to permit terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana, with no restrictions on THC levels. The first dispensary of low-THC cannabis didn’t open until July of 2016.
That same year, advocates were able to get the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014” onto the November 2014 ballot. The bill fell just 2.5% short of the 60% of yes votes needed to pass the constitutional amendment.
The next year, in 2015, a number of municipalities including Miami-Dade County, Tampa, Key West, and Orlando began allowing officers to cite adults found in possession of marijuana rather than arrest them.
Things began to change in 2016 when Amendment 2 passed with a popular vote of 71%. The legislation established a full-blown medical marijuana program. Then, in special session, the senate passed bill SB8A which created strict regulations that applied to Amendment 2, such as making it illegal to purchase dried flower and to grow cannabis at home.
In 2017, the Florida Legislature passed a law to prevent patients from using smokable marijuana. That same year, two bills were introduced to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. However, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee “temporarily postponed” review of the bills.
Recently, in the spring of 2018, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers heard a case brought by People United for Medical Marijuana and Florida for Care on behalf of two medical patients which challenged the legislature’s attempt to restrict patients’ options and prohibit the use of dried cannabis flower. Judge Grievers ruled that patients “have the right to use the [smokable] form of medical marijuana for treatment of their debilitating medical conditions as recommended by their certified physicians.” The Department of Health has since appealed the decision. Judge Gievers ruled that, under the state’s constitution, patients have the right to smoke medical marijuana in private.
Florida Recreational Weed Laws And Penalties
Amendment 2 did not change Florida’s drug possession laws. The possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000. Possession of more than 20 grams of is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Sale or delivery of marijuana is a felony. If perpetrated within 1,000 feet of a school, college, park, or other specified area it is punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.
However, as mentioned above, some Florida municipalities have opted to essentially decriminalize personal use of marijuana. Orlando, for example, allows police officers to write citations rather than arresting offenders. For the possession of 20 grams of cannabis or less, an officer can choose to write a citation with a $100 fine for first-time offenders, or $200 for a second offense. Repeat offenders can be fined up to $500 and have to appear in court.
In certain jurisdictions, payment of the citation constitutes admission of guilt and can still result in a criminal record.
Although Miami-Dade County, Tampa, Key West, and Orlando have decriminalized personal recreational use, many other municipalities still consider possession of marijuana an arrestable offense.
When is recreational marijuana likely to become legal in Florida? Some experts and advocates are predicting that a recreational marijuana referendum will appear on the state ballot in 2022.
Florida Medical Marijuana Qualifying Debilitating Conditions
To get a medical marijuana card and take part in Florida’s medical marijuana program, a patient must qualify and be approved by a certified physician.
Patients with any of the following debilitating conditions can get a medical marijuana card in Florida:
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification
- Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those above
- 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
Additional Medical Conditions That Have Qualified Florida Patients include:
- Back Pain
- Cachexia ( Wasting Syndrome)
- Cyclical Vomiting
- Hepatitis C
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (with chronic abdominal pain)
- Lyme Disease
- Muscle Spasms
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Severe & Chronic Pain
- Severe Nausea
- Sickle Cell Anemia
At this time, until the smoking issue is worked out, patients are allowed to purchase and use only oils (vape or oral drops), tinctures, capsules, patches, and topicals. Home delivery is also available. Unless they have $50 million and a cultivation license, patients cannot grow their own medical marijuana.
Steps To Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida
To get certified for medical marijuana in Florida, residents must obtain medical records from their primary care physician which show that they qualify for the program, and make an appointment with a doctor that is certified by the state for the dispensing of medical marijuana cards.
Certified physicians usually charge anywhere from $200-$300 for an examination.
In order to qualify, a patient must not only have one of the approved conditions, but show that they have tried other treatments that haven’t worked.
All patients are required to register with the Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use. Once a certified physician approves you, your application is sent to the Florida Department of Health along with a check for $75. The state then sends the patient a medical cannabis card which must be presented in order to purchase medical cannabis products. This process can take up to a month to complete.
Where To Buy Medical Marijuana Near You
Florida medical marijuana patients can purchase medicine from registered marijuana dispensaries officially known as Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs).
Dispensary locations are popping up like weeds, or roses, throughout the state. The total number of dispensaries allowed in Florida exceeds 400 under the state law. Many dispensaries will deliver medicine to authorized patients across the state.
Medical cannabis products generally cost between $35 and $115. The average purchase is between $150 and $250.
Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, banks are reluctant to do business with dispensaries, therefore sales are generally cash-only. Credit cards are usually not accepted. However, many dispensaries accept CanPay, which is a prepaid debit style card.
Florida Cannabis FAQ and Answers
FAQ – Below are frequently asked questions with answers that we receive about Florida’s medical marijuana program, products, prices, doctor’s dispensaries & cannabis medications.
How do I become a FL medical marijuana patient? Florida residents and part time residents that want to become medical marijuana patients must do the following:
How to find a qualified physician for a certification exam.
- Find participating doctors near you on our Florida marijuana doctors map. Florida has over 1,000 certified marijuana doctors throughout the state that are registered to determine if a patient should use medical marijuana. Physicians do an initial exam, consider medical records and may diagnose a qualifying condition. You can also fill out the patient registration form on Florida Dispensaries & Doctors.
How much does a Florida marijuana card cost?
- Your qualified physician places you, the patient on Florida’s medical marijuana use registry, so you can apply for the state identification card. Potential patients, or their caregivers, must apply to the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use, either mailed-in or online, with a copy of a state ID or proof of residency and the required $75 fee. An approved passport photo is required with the application if it’s being mailed to the office. Florida medical marijuana cards expire one year after the approved date. Patients or caregivers can renew the card by submitting the application 45 days prior to the expiration date.
How long does it take to get a Florida medical marijuana card?
- According to a recent release from the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use, paper applications were processed in about 23 days, and online applications took about 17 days. Patients can use an e-mail approval from the state temporarily while waiting for their marijuana card in the mail.
Is medical marijuana covered by my insurance?
- Because medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law, insurance will not cover the costs for THC & CBD Meds.
Can a doctor prescribe me medical marijuana?
- Doctors and other healthcare providers only recommend or issue written certifications. Prescribing medical marijuana is illegal under federal law.
If I use medical marijuana, will I get high?
- That depends on the type of medication recommended when the physician writes the order for patients. Certified marijuana doctors take into account the needs and preferences of the patient. Patients with certain conditions, including the severe nausea or lack of appetite experienced by some cancer patients, may have orders for High THC medicines that gives a euphoric high and helps with the pain. High CBD Low THC cannabis product are available for patients that warrant or prefer non-euphoric care.
Where can I purchase THC & CBD products as recommended by my doctor.
- Florida Dispensaries are open throughout the state and actively, growing, processing & dispensing medical cannabis. All open dispensaries in FL are found on our medical marijuana map. Delivery is also provided from these Florida Cannabis Brands. Go to the dispensary home pages on this site for available discounts, dispensary product menu’s, pricing & reviews.
Are different products and strains available at dispensaries in Florida?
- Yes. Many dispensaries offer different strains of marijuana products specialized to treat various ailments and symptoms. These are available in forms of CBD oil, THC oils, vaporizer cartridges, tinctures, topicals, oral syringes, capsules, flower, concentrates including wax, shatter, or dabs as well as edibles in limited forms. Accessories like vaporizer pens, vaporizers and batteries are available as well.
- To see all the strains available at local dispensaries visit the Florida Strain Library
Are there recreational dispensaries in Fl?
- No, currently the state only allows marijuana for medical use. Recreational marijuana is not on the ballot for 2019.
How much does MMJ in Florida cost?
- According to the patients reports, expect to spend around $10-$20 per day on medication. The Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research estimates that Florida marijuana patients pay, on average, $0.15 per milligram of THC or CBD medications.
- For an updated overview on the prices of medical marijuana products in Florida, visit Florida Dispensary Prices
How to pay at a dispensary in FL.
- Acceptable forms of payment for medical cannabis at a dispensary are cash, check, and most in FL accept CanPay. Credit cards are not accepted as it is still considered federally illegal which limits the payment options. ATM’s are typically present at each location.
How do I get medical marijuana if I can’t move around?
- Some medical marijuana physicians do make house calls for patients or potential patients that are unable to move around easily, including but not limited to severely sick or hospice patients.
- The majority of the Florida dispensary brands offer home delivery service.
Can I grow weed in Florida?
- No, although a Florida judge recently granted Joe Redner, the 77-year-old owner of Mons Venus Gentleman’s club, the ability to home-grow marijuana to treat his lung cancer. The order is pending an appeal filed by the state’s Department of Health.
Can I smoke medical marijuana?
- State law currently bans smoking marijuana along with it being sold in raw plant form. John Morgan, of Morgan & Morgan, is fighting for patient’s dignity challenging that ban to allow bud or flower as the amendment interpretation is written.
Will I test positive for THC if my job drug tests me?
- It depends on the product. Patients using cannabidiol, or CBD medicines, may not test positive. Other cannabis medications will cause patients to test positive
How do I find a doctor, dispensary or delivery service in FL?
- Congratulations, you’re already here & Thank You.
- Your friends at Florida Dispensaries!