How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card In Florida
Today, we’re going to let you know how to get a medical marijuana card in Florida. We’ll also discuss what steps you’ll need to take prior to applying for and obtaining your card and what you need to know about the renewal process.
Medical marijuana is currently legal in 33 states in the United States plus the District of Columbia.
One of the states that allows marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes is Florida, where qualifying patients can get up to a 35-day supply at a time.
You’ll need a medical marijuana card in Florida in order to obtain and use this substance legally for valid medical reasons.
While obtaining a Florida Medical Marijuana Card is a fairly straightforward process, it can also be a bit confusing if this is your first time seeking a card for this purpose in the Sunshine State.
What Is Medical Marijuana?
A Florida medical marijuana card allows you to obtain marijuana for health-related purposes. As for why you may want to take this step, there’s compelling research suggesting that medicinal marijuana may help patients with chronic pain and similar symptoms.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to give approval for using marijuana for this purpose. Even so, the FDA has approved two medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form.
Several studies have also reported positive results for patients correctly using marijuana for medicinal reasons.
It’s believed that medical marijuana may help some patients because of cannabinoids, the active ingredient in medical marijuana. These chemicals are similar to ones that exist naturally in your body.
What Are the Possible Benefits of Medical Marijuana?
The main reason patients use medical marijuana is for pain control or management. In fact, there are studies suggesting properly used medical marijuana may contribute to:
• Reduced anxiety and stress
• Better management of disruptive symptoms
• Improvements with overall quality of life
In 2017 alone, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded more than 300 projects related to cannabinoid research. More than 50 of these projects focused on possible therapeutic benefits.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued a report based on a review of more than 10,000 studies related to medicinal marijuana. Researchers attributed the following benefits to medicinal marijuana:
• Better chronic pain management
• Improved addiction treatment results
• Better management of psychological conditions like PTSD
• Less dependence on medications that could have potentially serious side effects when used on a long-term basis
How Do You Get Started?
As for how to get a medical marijuana card in Florida, you’ll need to contact a physician in Florida to schedule a new patient evaluation if this will be your first time requesting this type of card.
When you come to use for a consultation, you’ll need three main things:
• Your medical records
• Proof of Florida residency
• A valid photo ID
What Are the Basic Qualifications for Legally Using Marijuana for Medicinal Reasons?
There are some basic qualifications associated with medical marijuana cards in Florida. The first one is that you’ll need to be 18 years of age or older.
You’ll also need to be a year-long resident of Florida or a seasonal resident. Additionally, you’ll need the following:
• Legitimate medical records and/or documentation
• A proper diagnosis from a physician
• A diagnosis that’s made during an in-person visit
• A listing in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry
• An ID card
What Happens If You Do Qualify For A Medical Marijuana Card?
If it’s determined that you do qualify for a medical marijuana card in Florida, you’ll receive a patient registry identification (ID) number.
This number is needed when you fill out the application to register for a medical marijuana card.
Your name will also be added to the Medical Marijuana Use Registry for Florida. The listing that’s added for you in this registry will include:
• Your ID number
• Related identifying data
• Treatment recommendations specific to your situation
What Happens Next?
Once you’ve completed the application to receive a card, you’ll have to wait for the state to review it. If your application is approved, the state will authorize and activate your application.
While processing time can vary, it typically takes about 2-3 weeks for this process to occur. Normally, applicants that are approved receive confirmation of this fact via email.
Do You Have to Wait for Your Physical Card?
Not at all! There is no requirement for you to wait to receive your physical medical marijuana card in order to obtain marijuana legally for medicinal purposes. Simply print out your acceptance/confirmation email, or download it to your phone.
You can then take the physical or digital copy of your email to any authorized dispensary in Florida. You’ll also be able to purchase related products sold at a dispensary the same way.
As for when you’ll get your physical card, it could take 2-3 months to receive it. Once you do receive your card, however, all you’ll do is present it at your preferred Florida dispensary. Such products might include edibles and pre-roll packs.
What About Growing Your Own Marijuana?
Now that you know how to get a medical marijuana card in Florida, it’s just as important to be aware of some important limitations. For instance, medical marijuana cardholders in Florida are not permitted to grown their own marijuana plants. Only dispensaries are permitted to legally grow marijuana plants in Florida.
What Should Be On Your Post-Card To-Do List?
If you do qualify for a marijuana card in the Sunshine State, it’s important to stay in touch with your physician.
Regular examinations and evaluations can play an important role in determining how well you are responding to all of your treatments, including the ones involving medical marijuana.
A doctor can also determine if you are using the right dosage and spot signs of potential issues you’ll need to be aware of to improve your odds of responding well to this approach to pain management.
What Are Qualifying Conditions To Get A Medical Marijuana Card in Florida?
In order to receive a medical marijuana card in Florida, you’ll need to have a debilitating medical condition. Epilepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS), for instance, would both likely be considered qualifying conditions.
This is also likely to be the case if you have cancer-related pain or if you are suffering side effects because of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia are typically acceptable as well. Additional qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Florida include:
• Severe migraine headaches
• AIDS and an HIV+ diagnosis
• Chronic non-malignant (non-cancer-related) pain
• Parkinson’s disease
• ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
• Crohn’s disease
• A terminal illness or condition
Other conditions that are comparable to the ones already listed above may be considered as well. This is one of the reasons to have a thorough evaluation from a physician familiar with Florida’s medical marijuana qualifications.
How Much Does It Cost To Get A Medical Marijuana Card In Florida?
If it’s determined that you have a qualifying medical reason to request a medical marijuana card, the application fee is $75.
The cost of the initial doctor’s visit will vary based on your insurance plan and other factors.
There are costs associated with the various products available at state dispensaries in addition to the other main costs involved.
This being said, it’s not unusual for satisfied patients to feel that such costs are more than worth it if they are able to successfully manage their discomfort and enjoy a better quality of daily life.
How Do You Renew Your Medical Marijuana Card In Florida?
Lastly, a medical marijuana card issued in Florida is valid for one year after the date the card is issued. In order to renew your card, you’ll need to be reevaluated.
Should there still be a valid, qualifying reason for you to continue to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, you’ll repeat the process discussed above and submit a new application.
It’s best to apply for a new card about a month and a half or so before your current one expires. This reduces the risk of having a lapse in coverage.