Medical Marijuana in Florida
The use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions and the symptoms they cause has been a hot button issue in the US for several decades. Ever since California voters passed Proposal 215, making California the first state in the US to legalize marijuana for certain medical uses, laws in other states have been in constant flux. Not only do the laws vary from state to state, but each state’s independent marijuana laws are constantly changing and evolving as well. Fortunately, many states have moved to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
As of 2021, 47 states have some form of legal medical marijuana, while fourteen of those states have legalized marijuana for recreational use as well. The trend seems to be broadening, as it is not just individual states who are legalizing recreational marijuana. The United States Congress has considered several medical and recreational marijuana proposals, while Washington DC and the US territory of Guam have chosen to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Florida Legalizes Medical Marijuana
Here in Florida, marijuana has been legal for certain medical uses since 2016, when voters passed Amendment 2 and made Florida the 22nd state to legalize medical marijuana. Since then, Floridians have watched as marijuana slowly began to hit the mainstream and may have noticed an increase in ads promoting “marijuana doctors” or “pot docs” popping up in weeklies, magazines, newspapers, and even on yard sale-style signs at interstate exits. Certainly, it appears that medical marijuana is everywhere.
Despite this proliferation of doctors prescribing medical marijuana, details about medical marijuana laws and the process to access it may seem vague to new patients. For some, navigating this unfamiliar territory can even feel a bit overwhelming. As a result, many people are still unclear about how the Florida medical marijuana process really works. At times there seem to be more questions than answers: “What can medical marijuana treat? Who is eligible? Are edibles legal? What about CBD? How do I get a prescription? Once I have a doctor’s prescription, where can I buy medical marijuana?”
To help make things a little clearer, we have put together some answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive from Florida residents. It is our hope that this brief guide will help you gain a better understanding of the current marijuana laws in Florida and learn how to become a Florida medical marijuana patient.
Current Florida Marijuana Laws
While marijuana has been legal for certain medical uses in Florida since 2016, medical marijuana remains the only legal form of marijuana in the state. Recreational use, possession, cultivation, or sale of marijuana or any cannabis products is still strictly prohibited. If you are not a Florida medical marijuana patient and authorities find marijuana on your person or in an area under your control (in your car, home, office, etc.), you can be charged with a crime.
In Florida, possession of marijuana can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances and total amounts found in your possession. Thresholds for marijuana crimes exist as follows:
- Under 20 grams: Individuals possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana will face misdemeanor charges. If convicted, the individual could face a maximum of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
- Over 20 grams: Individuals found with over 20 grams of marijuana or any marijuana oil in their possession will be subject to felony charges. Marijuana felony convictions carry harsh penalties. Individuals with marijuana felony charges could face a maximum of 5 years in prison, along with a $5,000 fine.
Laws for Certified Medical Cannabis Patients
Unlike other non-patients, certified medical marijuana patients may hold a medical marijuana card that allows the possession of authorized amounts of marijuana. Cardholders can buy up to 2.5 ounces of whole flower cannabis, once approved as a consumption method by their physician and added to your MMUR orders, every 35 days. Other consumption methods your physician may add to your open orders (prescription) are medical marijuana oral products, topicals, suppositories, inhalation (different from smokable flower, think vapes and concentrates) and low-THC items of the same categories. Of note, medical marijuana patients are not allowed to grow their own cannabis plants in the state of Florida.
In fact, all medical marijuana products must come from a fully qualified and registered Florida dispensary, also called a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center, or MMTC. If a law officer finds cannabis flower, edibles, or even THC oil in your possession, you must be able to show them that it was purchased from a registered dispensary. As a result, it is best to carry your medical marijuana card on your person to prove your right to possess marijuana and keep medical marijuana in its original dispensary container. Patients should be aware that, per Florida law, legal medicating can only take place on private properties as allowed by the property's owner. Florida patients cannot medicate in the workplace, nor in public.
Medical Marijuana Can Hold Benefits for Many Patients
Unfortunately, because the FDA still considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug, along with heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, scientists need to obtain special licensing before performing research into the possible effects of THC, CBD, and other cannabis chemicals on the human body. This means federally approved research into medical marijuana is limited, and the FDA has so far only approved marijuana for the treatment of two rare and severe forms of epilepsy.
Still, in the past two decades, many doctors have begun prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment for a host of other conditions. The cannabis plant contains hundreds of different natural compounds called cannabinoids, each of which has a different effect on the body. Together, or in isolated forms of THC or CBD, cannabinoids hold therapeutic properties preferable to prescription pharmaceuticals for many people.
What Conditions Can Be Treated with Medical Marijuana?
Currently, Florida residents may register as a medical marijuana patient if a qualified physician certifies that the person suffers from one or more of the following conditions:
- HIV and AIDS
- Parkinson’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Crohn's disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic, nonmalignant pain
- Other conditions within the same classification as those above
- Other terminal conditions, even if they were diagnosed by a doctor besides the doctor providing certification
As medical marijuana continues to become more widely used and accepted by doctors and individuals in Florida and throughout the US, many people are finding themselves wondering if their conditions could be treated with cannabis. Still, more are unsure of how to learn about the process or what steps to take to become a patient.
Getting a Medical Marijuana Prescription in Florida
Despite the general sense of confusion surrounding legal marijuana in Florida, it’s surprisingly easy to become a Florida medical marijuana patient. While the medical industry has been dismissive of marijuana as a viable treatment for many conditions until recently, bringing it up with your doctor is one of the first steps you should take. Your regular doctor may or may not be qualified to recommend and prescribe cannabis, but they are a good place to go to get the conversation started.
Even if your regular physician cannot prescribe marijuana, you’ll find that many Florida doctors are qualified to prescribe medical marijuana. In fact, any doctor holding an active and unrestricted medical license in the state of Florida who has completed the state-mandated marijuana course and examination is able to legally recommend and prescribe medical marijuana to qualified individuals. So, how do you become qualified?
To be eligible for a medical marijuana prescription, you must have proof of diagnosis of one of the above qualifying illnesses or conditions, along with proof that you have sought other prior forms of treatment. Once your doctor certifies that you have one of the approved conditions, you will need to send an application and $75 check (or online payment through your profile) to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH).
It takes approximately 5-10 business days for payment to the state to be processed. After the payment is processed, you will receive an email allowing you access into the dispensary near you as a patient using just your driver’s license. Within a few weeks, FDOH will send your official Florida medical marijuana ID card, which you will need to present at the dispensary when buying your cannabis. This first card is valid for 30 weeks, after which you will need to have a “pot doc” sign off on your prescription again. More detailed Florida medical marijuana ID card and medical marijuana use registry information is available as a joint effort between the Florida Department of Health and the Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
What Medical Marijuana Products can Florida Patients Buy?
Marijuana is only considered “medical” if it is purchased at one of the registered and licensed Florida dispensaries. Currently, there are over 200 dispensaries statewide. As we mentioned above, medical cardholders in Florida can purchase 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower every 35 days. As of 2020, certain cannabis edibles can also be purchased in Florida, though THC potency is capped at 10% for patients under 21. Edible products can contain a maximum of 10 milligrams per serving and can only be sold in the form of lozenges, baked goods, gelatin, drink powders, and chocolate. Currently, none of the edibles can include any coloring or toppings.
The recent legalization of cannabis edibles will likely encourage even more people to consider using cannabis to treat their conditions, especially those who were hesitant to smoke a product. Some people also prefer consuming their cannabis as edibles or drink powders because it is more discreet and convenient. While medical marijuana patients must still follow all Florida smoking laws and cannot smoke in any public places, consumables can be eaten just about anywhere. With the addition of edibles to the already wide selection of flower, tinctures, oils, inhalers, vaporizers, patches, gels, and other topicals, Florida medical marijuana patients will find that there are almost endless ways to access medical marijuana in the state.
Shopping for Medical Marijuana in Florida
Today, modern cannabis utilizations are spreading throughout the state like wildfire, as more and more patients discover the myriad of health benefits it can provide. Not only is medical marijuana proving itself to be a valuable aid to many individuals suffering from a variety of physical afflictions, research is shedding light on its efficacy in treating mental illness and depression as well.
To help, the MÜV Florida cannabis dispensaries are all licensed to offer medical marijuana at all 30 of our locations (and growing!). We produce an assortment of high quality, medical-grade cannabis products ideal for use by individuals who prefer practically any form of medical marijuana.
If you are a medical cardholder in Florida, you can select a location close to you to shop for medical marijuana and place your order for cannabis delivery service or express pickup right here on our website!