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Over the past decade, medical marijuana use has grown. As more individuals use medical marijuana, we gain more information on its effectiveness, and more states are legalizing medical use.
Medical marijuana, or cannabis, is prescribed for a number of different ailments, ranging from temporary to chronic. Individuals suffering from pain due to illness or injury, those with severe anxiety or stress, and those experiencing difficult side effects from medical treatments all benefit from medical marijuana. Those with PTSD and those undergoing chemotherapy treatment are among the most commonly prescribed medical cannabis. Recent studies also show medical marijuana helps those managing neurological conditions like epilepsy and chronic illnesses like ALS and Parkinson’s disease, expanding its use.
Medical vs. Recreational Marijuana
One of the most common questions about medical marijuana is if it’s different from recreational marijuana. While there are different varieties of cannabis, whether marijuana is recreational or medical is determined solely by how it’s used.
There is a difference between cannabis purchased legally and illegally. Legal recreational or medical cannabis is subjected to each state’s testing protocols. States require marijuana to undergo testing from state-approved laboratories. These tests ensure that the cannabis has a certain level of THC (the active ingredient for pain relief) and is free of any harmful chemicals or pesticides. For this reason, it’s imperative for those seeking medical cannabis to only purchase from state-approved dispensaries.
Steps to Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida
Each state’s application for a medical marijuana card is a little different. Below are the steps required for anyone wishing to get a medical marijuana card in Florida.
Step 1: Become a Florida Resident
To be eligible for a medical cannabis card in Florida, you must first be a Florida resident. Residency is applicable to anyone who has lived in Florida for at least 183 days (one day more than six months). To be a resident, you need to have either a Florida driver’s license or a Florida ID card. In order to get these forms of ID, you can show two qualifying documents, such as a deed, mortgage statement, rental statement, or recent utility bill.
Minors (those under 18 years of age) must show a copy of their birth certificate. The minor’s guardian must also show their Florida driver’s license or ID.
Step 2: Have a Qualifying Medical Condition
The next step in gaining a medical marijuana card in Florida is to have a board-certified medical professional diagnose you with a qualifying medical condition. This medical professional must also be on Florida’s Medical Marijuana Qualified Physician list, found here. Qualifying conditions include cancer, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy. The full list of qualifying conditions is on The Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU)’s site.
If the patient is a minor, they will need to gain the same diagnosis and recommendation from two qualified physicians. Once you have a diagnosis from a physician, your physician must enter you into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. For minors, both the minor and their caregiver need to be entered into the registry.
Step 4: Apply for a Card
Once in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry, you can apply for a medical marijuana card in Florida. Applications are available online and can also be sent through the mail. There is a $75 fee to apply, and once payment clears, your application will be in review for up to five business days. If your application is approved, you will receive an email approval while your physical card is printed and mailed. You should receive your card in up to one to two weeks. If your application is rejected, you will receive information about how to correct your application.
Step 5: Receive and Fill Your Prescription
After you have your medical cannabis card, and your doctor has added your recommendations which last up to a maximum of 210 days, you are ready to purchase your treatment. Florida has a list of approved Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers that can fill your prescription. The state vets each center, and all its products have been tested by one of its approved testing facilities.
Travel and Public Use
One final thing to note is that you cannot take your prescription marijuana to another state, regardless of that state’s laws regarding cannabis. Marijuana use is illegal on a federal level, so traveling with it is inherently illegal.
Be sure to store your medical marijuana in a cool, dry place to prevent any molding or staleness, and use it in private places only. While medical cannabis use is legal in Florida, public cannabis use is not allowed.
If you encounter any problems or have questions about how to obtain a medical marijuana card in Florida, visit the OMMU website to find out more.