For the longest time, marijuana has faced harsh criticism from both the societal and medical fronts. However, in the recent past, research has proven the herb is beneficial than most people thought.
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This realization led to the legalization of marijuana in several states. Marijuana legalization can be either for medical purposes or recreational use.
Florida is one of the states where marijuana consumption is legal. This, however, applies to those permitted by the law to use marijuana for medical purposes. If you are a Florida medical marijuana cardholder, you can legally access the market’s best cannabis.
As seen above, only those with a Florida medical marijuana card can easily access the drug. Who qualifies for an MMJ card in Florida? Additionally, if you meet these requirements, how can you apply for your medical marijuana card in Florida.
This article delves into all the information you need before and while applying for your MMJ card.
The history of cannabis legalization in Florida
Like most parts of the country, marijuana was illegal in Florida. It wasn’t until November 2016 when the drug was partially legalized for medical use.
After a long and egregious struggle from patients and other stakeholders dating as far back as 2014, the state finally agreed to legalize marijuana. However, the legalization did not cover smoking. Edibles, pills, sprays, oils, and vaping were the only legal ways of consuming marijuana in Florida.
In March 2019, a bill passed removing the earlier set prohibition on smoking medical marijuana. This led to a boom in both the sale and consumption of medical cannabis in the state.
Legal qualifications for medical marijuana use in Florida
When seeking an MMJ card in Florida, the law considers your residency in the state. Consequently, you can either apply for your medical cannabis card as a permanent resident or a seasonal resident.
If you are a permanent resident of Florida seeking to get your MMJ card, you’ll need;
- A copy of your passport
- A copy of your identity card or driver’s license issued by the state
- A utility bill dating at most two months from the application period
- A title deed, mortgage, mortgage payment booklet, monthly mortgage statement, or a lease or residential rental agreement.
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If you are residing in Florida for a while, you can also apply for an MMJ card with at least two of the following documents;
- A copy of your house deed or lease agreement
- Proof of residential address from your host –guardian, parent, or the person you’re staying with
- Mail from a municipal, county, or federal agency dating at most two months from the application date
- A utility work order dated in-between 60 days from the application date
- Mail from a financial organization including savings, investment, or checking accounts not older than two months from the application period
Minors can also apply for the Florida medical marijuana card under the following guidelines and with the aid of a parent or guardian;
- A copy of the minor’s birth certificate or current registration record from a recognized learning institution
- A copy of the legal guardian’s identification card or driving license
The medical marijuana card in Florida does not warrant either possession or use of medical cannabis outside of the state. If found with marijuana in another state, you can face legal action even with your Florida MMJ card. This still applies even if the state you’re caught in has its own recreational and medical marijuana use laws.
Who qualifies for a medical marijuana card in Florida?
While some other states have already legalized recreational marijuana use, you can only use cannabis for medical use in Florida. This means a qualified physician must first examine your need and match it to the list of patients allowed to carry an MMJ license.
Any of the following conditions and illnesses qualify you for a medical marijuana card;
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/Aids)
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Anxiety disorders
- Chronic Nonmalignant pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Chronic Muscle Spasms
- Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS)
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Prolonged Nausea
- Chronic and severe pain
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
You can also qualify for the MMJ card list if you are suffering from a terminal condition. This, however, needs to be established and diagnosed by a doctor and not the physician designated with issuing the legal medical marijuana certificate.
Additionally, as a Florida resident, the primary care provider is in charge of diagnosing and assessing your need for the medical marijuana card. The MMJ card evaluating physician has little to no say in the matter.
You can also qualify for the MMJ card if you suffer from more than one underlying chronic issue.
So, now that you’ve passed the eligibility test, how do you go about applying for a Florida medical marijuana card?
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How to apply for a medical marijuana card in Florida
You can apply for your medical marijuana card if you meet the above-mentioned qualifying factors. Here is an easy yet exhaustive application guide to help give you a seamless application process.
Step 1: Access your eligibility to the medical marijuana card requirements in the state
The first step to getting your cannabis card in Florida is looking at how eligible you are. You can easily do this by examining the qualifying factors and conditions listed above.
If you meet these qualifications, you will need a qualified physician to sign off, and you are set for the next step.
During your medical marijuana card application process, you’ll need a doctor to diagnose the medical condition formally. The condition must meet the requirements stipulated above; otherwise, you’ll have difficulty passing the initial application step.
Terminally ill patients can also qualify for legal cannabis treatment with the consolation of their respective legal guardians or primary caregiver.
Proving your residency, whether temporary or permanent, is also an integral part of the first step. If you cannot provide evidence of your residence within the state, you’ll likely be unable to apply for your MMJ card as the certificates differ from one state to another.
Step 2: Book, in-person consultation with a qualified professional
The Office of Medical Marijuana Use in Florida (OMMU), under the Florida Department of Health, mandates that only qualified physicians have the authority to issue you with a certificate. This is only after the doctor has physically examined you and deemed you worthy of an MMJ card.
Unfortunately, an online recommendation from a qualified doctor is not yet legal in the state. This means the doctor has to physically examine you as well as your medical history and background before you can be termed as an eligible candidate for the MMJ card.
You may, however,
Ensure the doctor you see is registered by the Florida State Medical Marijuana Use Registry as they are the only ones with authority and access to add you to the cardholder’s database.
You don’t need much knowledge of the system as the qualifying doctor will help you get onto the system. This will happen after the physician has evaluated your medical background and history and ascertained you require medical marijuana use.
After the evaluation, the doctor will fill in your personal details to register you into the system. They will do so by adding your name and other relevant personal information into the Compassionate Care Registry platform, also known as the Medical Use Registry. The Florida Department of Health governs the
After your details have been added to the registry, you’ll then receive an email titled ‘Medical Marijuana Use Registry New User Account.’ The emails will contain your login credentials, such as your password and patient identification number. You’ll need this information when applying, accessing, and retrieving your MMJ card.
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Step 3: Submit an online medical marijuana card application.
After you have received the password and ID, you can now progress to the next steps. At this point, you’ve done a bulk of the work.
With your ID and password, you should now complete your application for an MMJ card in Florida on the Medical Marijuana Use Registry platform. When on the platform, click on the ‘Your Card’ tab, which will redirect you to the relevant page to complete your application.
Once you have submitted all the requisite documents, you’ll then have to pay a $75 fee to process the application.
It is worthwhile to mention the review will be thorough, and even a few mistakes can disqualify you, taking you back to the previous steps. As such, ensure all your paperwork and documentation are in order before you can submit the application for review.
The review will focus on all the information given. However, an emphasis is placed on the pre-diagnosis information. Before you submit, make sure you go through it to ensure all the information provided is factual and accurate. This will help streamline the process, and you’ll have your MMJ card without any glitches.
The review process takes about two weeks, and after everything checks out, you’ll be issued with your very own medical marijuana card in Florida.
Step 4: Wait for your application to be approved by the state.
After you’ve followed steps one through three, the hard work is over. Now, you have to wait for the state to review and approve your application.
Once your MMJ card application has gone through, you’ll receive an email titled ‘Medical Marijuana Use ID Card Application has been approved.’
Once you receive the email, you are now free to purchase and consume medical marijuana from any legal outlet in the state. If you are in a rush, you may go ahead and use the email as proof of your eligibility.
If you prefer the physical card, you’ll have to wait for about ten business days before the card is delivered to you.
Ideally, you should seek an appointment with your physician about seven months after receiving your MMJ card. This is because the doctor’s recommendation lasts up to 7 months.
How to renew your MMJ card in Florida
Your legal cannabis card is valid for a year from the moment your application was approved. Also, there’s an expiry date noted on the card, right beside the date of birth.
However, to avoid inconveniences, you should start the MMJ card renewal process at least 45 days to the card’s expiry date.
MMJ Card in Florida FAQs
The information outlined above will help you as you seek to either register or renew your MMJ card in Florida. However, you may have additional questions not covered above. Some of the frequently asked questions include;
1. Can you grow cannabis after getting your MMJ card?
Unfortunately, the MMJ card only allows you to possess and consume medical marijuana. If you are looking to grow the herb, you’ll need to acquire a dispensing license.
Only dispensaries known as Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs) are allowed to grow, manufacture, process, and sell their marijuana products.
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2. How much will the entire MMJ card registration cost?
As outlined above, the MMJ card processing fee is $75. There are, however, other costs incurred during the process.
As a new patient, you’ll have to consult a qualified healthcare professional, which costs
3. What should you do after losing your MMJ card?
In case you misplace your MMJ card in Florida, you’ll first have to fill a request form titled ‘Change, Replacement, or Surrender form. This will cost you $15, and the document will be forwarded to the OMMU department for processing.
If you suspect the card was stolen, you should report the matter to the Florida medical marijuana authorities and certified healthcare professional.
Florida has over 300,000 legal cardholders who can easily access medical marijuana. You, too, can join the group and enjoy some of the best, qualitative, and potent marijuana strains in the region.
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