CONSULTATION FEE RANGE
- $150 – $250
MMJ PURCHASING LIMITS
- 2.5 OUNCES OF SMOKABLE MARIJUANA EVERY 35 DAYS; THERE ARE NEW THC LIMITS ON OTHER FORMS OF MARIJUANA
MINIMUM AGE LIMIT
Although MMJ became legal in Florida on June 9, 2017, it took years for qualifying patients to have reasonable access to the substance because opening a legal MMJ dispensary in Florida is a long, drawn-out process. Furthermore, Floridians on the program were only allowed to smoke marijuana from March 18, 2019! They could only use capsules, vape devices, and oils in the intervening period.
Fortunately, things have improved significantly in the last few years, with dozens of dispensaries open for business. Hundreds of thousands of Florida patients are on the MMJ program, with countless more hoping to follow suit. This guide provides information on how to get an FL medical card to join the growing legion of medical marijuana users.
First, however, let’s look into cannabis laws and penalties for users who don’t possess an MMJ card in Florida.
Florida Medical Marijuana Laws
The penalties for using the substance are relatively severe unless you are a medical marijuana patient in Florida. At present, the state has yet to decriminalize the use or possession of cannabis. Therefore, you could be charged with a misdemeanor if caught with any amount of the drug. This may result in up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000.
The possession or sale of 20.01 grams or more is a felony, with a possible jail term of five years and a $5,000 fine. Also, possessing any amount of hashish or concentrates is a felony, with up to five years in prison as the maximum penalty.
Therefore, unless you have an MMJ card, it is risky to use the drug in Florida. Now, let’s take a look at the application process.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida
The general process of applying for and obtaining medical cannabis in Florida hasn’t changed much in the last few years and is generally straightforward. However, a new set of patient certification standards came into effect on July 13, 2021. For instance, the physician must discuss the risks and benefits of using smokable marijuana with patients.
In addition, the doctor must conduct a physical examination while in the same room as the patient.
MMJ patients must sign a new standardized consent form, which includes information on the dangers of smoking near oxygen tanks. It was a necessary step as a report published by the Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine showed that approximately 95% of patients with certifications for MMJ have at least one order for smokable marijuana.
Step 1 – Get in Touch with an FL Healthcare Provider
The first step to getting a Florida medical marijuana card is to obtain your medical records and receive a signed physician’s statement from a doctor. You can only use a licensed doctor in the state’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry. Check the Florida DOH website for an updated list of Florida medical marijuana doctors. There is also a list of qualifying physicians on the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) page.
Step 2 – Schedule a Consultation
Your doctor will perform a medical examination at the appointment and ask a few questions. The goal is to determine whether you are a good candidate for MMJ. If the doctor thinks you are, they will provide you with a written certification.
Step 3 – Enter Your Information into the Florida Marijuana Use Registry
The physician will enter your name and information into the Florida Marijuana Use Registry (aka the Compassionate Care Registry) once they have agreed to provide certification. The state’s Department of Health is in charge of it. You can’t apply for your FL MMJ card until you are officially in the Registry. Ensure you give the doctor a valid email address, as you will receive an email with your Registry log-in credentials.
Once in the Registry, you can submit a completed form to the OMMU. You will be asked to reapply with the proper documentation if your paperwork isn’t in order. You will receive an email notification if your application is approved.
Step 4 – Visit a Dispensary
You can temporarily order from a licensed MMJ dispensary (known as a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center – MMTC) with the approval email until you receive your ID card. Please note that a medical doctor in the state must see a patient every 210 days to renew the certification. The actual MMJ card itself is valid for 12 months.
Who Can Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in FL?
Only residents aged 18+ with a qualifying medical condition can apply for a medical marijuana card in FL. You need to provide proof of residency. Examples include a Florida I.D., a passport, or another form of photo identification.
Unlike many other states, Florida permits permanent or seasonal residents to access the MMJ program. You are a seasonal resident if you:
- Live in Florida for at least 31 consecutive days in a year
- Maintain a temporary residence
- Return to the state at least once a year
- Are registered to vote or pay income taxes in Florida
Cost of Medical Marijuana Card in Florida
The medical marijuana card cost in FL involves paying two fees:
- The initial payment to meet with the qualified physician (cost varies depending on location).
- The registration fee for the application, which is $75.
Also, full-face, passport-type color photographs are required, so this may carry an additional small cost. The need to have a consultation with a doctor every 210 days ensures that the Florida MMJ program is more expensive than most. The MMJ card application costs $75, while the initial doctor’s appointment costs between $150 and $250. The 210-day certification tends to cost $200. Then there is the small matter of $75 to renew your card annually and the cost of the cannabis itself.
FL MMJ Card Qualifying Conditions
Below is a list of the FL medical marijuana card qualifying conditions. Patients in Florida diagnosed with one of the following “debilitating medical conditions” are afforded legal protection under the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (as per Amendment 2):
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS / Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Crohn’s disease
- HIV / AIDS
- Chronic muscle spasms
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Any ailment/condition “of the same severity/symptoms” (as determined by the recommending physician)
- A terminal condition diagnosed by a doctor other than the physician issuing the certification
- Chronic nonmalignant pain caused by a qualifying condition. You are also eligible if this pain originates from a qualifying condition and persists “beyond the usual course” of the disease
How Long Does It Take to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida ?
When the program began, there was a severe lack of licensed doctors willing to provide MMJ certification. Indeed, between October 2018 and March 2019, 89 physicians were responsible for approving 95,000 patients, well over half of the entire number of MMJ certifications in Florida at that time!
This resulted in a situation where becoming a medical marijuana patient involved a considerable waiting period. At the time, the Physician Certification Pattern Review Panel members voiced their concerns and urged the Florida Department of Health to set guidelines. Otherwise, doctors would continue rushing through certifications.
Things did change, and by the beginning of 2021, there were over 5,000 registered medical marijuana doctors in Florida, a number that keeps growing. Therefore, MMJ patients find it quick and easy to make appointments with medical professionals who perform thorough examinations.
Once you have completed the required steps and paid the application fee, the Florida Department of Health will send approval confirmation by email. According to the OMMU, the average wait time for approving applications is five days. It also takes an average of five days to print and send out the physical MMJ card.
How to Renew My Florida Medical Card?
A patient (or their legal representative) must annually submit a renewal application, along with the application fee. You must also include accompanying documents to the department 45 days before the card expiration date.
Other Information on the FL Medical Marijuana License Process
While we’ve outlined the general process for how to apply for medical marijuana, Florida also has a few unique rules and regulations that it behooves you to be aware of. Here are answers to some of the most common FAQs concerning medical cannabis in Florida.
What Types of Cannabis Can I Purchase in FL?
Now that the ban on smoking marijuana has been lifted in Florida, MMJ patients have access to almost every form of the plant. However, suppose you want to use smokable marijuana. In that case, a qualified doctor must submit specific documentation to the Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine stating that they believe smoking is an appropriate form of medication for you.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in FL Online
It is extremely easy to get MMJ online in Florida. After receiving certification from a doctor, go to the OMMU website and look for the “Patients” tab. From there, you can learn everything you need to know about the process and apply for an ID card. It is also possible to log into the Registry on the same site.
In May 2023, Florida lawmakers approved House Bill 387, allowing telehealth appointments for MMJ patients seeking renewals. You still need to complete an in-person consultation when applying for your medical marijuana card initially. However, you can now use an online service when speaking to a physician during renewal. HB 387 became effective in July 2023.
Can I Register My Child for Medical Marijuana in FL?
Yes. However, patients aged 17 or younger must get approval from two different physicians. Also, only minors with terminal conditions are permitted to smoke MMJ. Also, the certified doctors must get the written informed consent of the patient’s parent or legal guardian.
Where Can I Purchase MMJ in Florida?
You or your legal caretaker can buy cannabis products from a licensed medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) in Florida. Currently, there are over 470 operating locations in the state.
However, most dispensaries offer free delivery across the entire state once you order above a certain dollar amount if you don’t live near a physical location. The main players include Curaleaf, and Trulieve, who dominate the market.
How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?
MMJ patients in Florida have access to a maximum of 2.5 ounces of smokable marijuana every 35 days. A doctor can certify up to six 35-day supplies during the 210-day certification period.
New rules implemented in August 2022 set caps on non-smokable marijuana. The maximum amount of THC one can purchase in 70 days stands at 24,500mg. MMJ patients should also be aware of the following daily THC dosage caps:
- 60mg for edibles
- 150mg for topicals
- 190mg for sublingual tinctures and suppositories
- 200mg for capsules & tinctures
- 350mg for vape products
Can You Grow Marijuana in Florida with a Medical Marijuana Card?
No. Florida law allows licensed dispensing organizations to grow, process, and distribute marijuana. The OMMU will refer any business or individual suspected of violating state law to local law enforcement for investigation. It is important to remember that marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Where Can I Use My MMJ?
Similar to most states with an active MMJ program, the use of any form of medical cannabis in Florida is prohibited in public places. Therefore, patients can only use it in private residences.
Can I Take My MMJ to a Different State?
No. According to current laws in the state, you can only use cannabis in Florida with a state MMJ card. Medical marijuana patients may face federal and local charges of transporting marijuana if they cross state lines with the drug. This is still true even if the states between which they are traveling allow medical marijuana.
Also, Florida does not have a reciprocity agreement at the time of writing. However, it offers “seasonal” cards, the rules of which we outlined above.
What Are the Caregiver Rules?
You can appoint a caregiver as long as they:
- Are NOT a qualified physician.
- Are NOT employed by or have an economic interest in an MMJ testing laboratory or treatment center.
- Are aged 21+ and a resident of Florida.
- Agree to help you with MMJ in writing.
- Complete a caregiver certification course. It costs a maximum of $100 and is renewed every two years.
- Pass a background screening. There is an exception to this rule if your caregiver is a close relative.
A caregiver can only help one patient unless that patient is a minor and the caregiver is a legal guardian or parent. Other exceptions include patients with a developmental or intellectual disability or who are admitted to a hospice.
What If I Lose My Medical Card in FL?
You must submit a “Change, Replacement, or Surrender Request Form” to the OMMU, along with $15 and a copy of your Florida ID card or driver’s license.
When Did Medical Marijuana in Florida Become Legal?
Amendment 2 came into effect in Florida on January 3, 2017, after over 71% of residents voted “yes” to it on November 8. 2016. It allowed patients with debilitating medical conditions to purchase medical marijuana.
However, there were protests against the legalization of cannabis in the state. It was only on June 15, 2017, that Governor Rick Scott signed the bill into law. Newly qualified patients were permitted to purchase cannabis with any THC content from July 1, 2017, onward.
The Smart & Safe Florida Campaign, which marijuana giant, Trulieve, funds, is collecting signatures to have the question of adult-use cannabis added to the 2024 ballot. For it to pass, the measure will need at least 60% of voters to say ‘yes.’ Recreational marijuana faces stiff political opposition, so there’s no guarantee it will even pass the Florida Supreme Court’s review.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Miami
In June 2015, commissioners in Miami-Dade County approved a plan to allow civil citations for the possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana. Rather than face jail time, individuals caught with small amounts of weed pay a $100 fine or complete two days of community service.
However, if you want to buy and possess large amounts of marijuana, you must apply for an MMJ card in Miami. Fortunately, there are plenty of physicians willing to provide certification. There are also many licensed dispensaries to choose from.
MMJ Card for Veterans in FL
If you’re a military veteran living in Florida, you may find clinics offering consultation discounts. Also, it is important to note that veterans will not be denied VA benefits for legal marijuana use.
Final Thoughts on Getting a Florida Medical Marijuana Card
Recently, becoming an MMJ patient in Florida has become significantly easier. You can apply online and receive certification from one of the thousands of licensed physicians. Successful applicants get their cards within ten days and can buy cannabis from one of the hundreds of dispensaries.
However, the process involves a new certification with a doctor every 210 days, and there is also a fee involved when a doctor allows you to get your regular supply. Nonetheless, for MMJ patients in need, the additional cost is well worth it. Also, a new law means you can complete renewal consultations online, making life easier.
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