How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida (2020 Guide)
Medical Marijuana Doctor Issuing Recommendations for Patients Near Tampa, St. Petersburg and All of Florida
Getting a medical marijuana card in Florida is a fairly streamlined process, but it can still be confusing. That’s why we created an easy to follow step-by-step guide on how to get your medical marijuana card in Florida, completely updated to meet Florida’s requirements in 2020.
Step 1: Call Our Physicians to Arrange Your New Patient Evaluation
The first step to find out if you are eligible for a marijuana card under Florida’s law is to be evaluated by a qualified doctor. Physicians have quite a bit of discretion to decide if your symptoms, pain or health condition fall within those accepted by law. Don’t worry – our staff will make sure you know what you need to bring with you to the consultation, such as:
- Proof of Florida residency and photo I.D.
- Medical records
You can’t visit just any doctor for this appointment. They must be registered with the state’s cannabis program. All of our physicians have completed the state-mandated training and certification. You don’t need to be referred by your primary care doctor or anyone else. Simply give us a call!
If you qualify:
You will receive a patient registry I.D. number from us, if our doctors determine you are eligible. You will use this I.D. number to complete an online application on the state’s website. This application is how you register for a medical marijuana card. At the same time, our doctors will add you to Florida’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry. This listing will include your patient I.D. number, your name, your treatment recommendation and other identifying data.
After you’ve completed your online application with the patient registry I.D. number we provide, all that’s left to do is wait for the state to authorize and activate your application. This can take 2-3 weeks. You will receive an email from the state when the listing is activated. Once you receive this email, you can purchase marijuana in Florida! Don’t wait for the physical card you’ll get in the mail, which could take another 2-3 months. Print out the email or download it on your phone. Take your regular photo I.D. to the dispensary of your choice, and the staff there will be able to look up your active listing in the state’s database. You’ll be able to purchase the dispensary’s products during this visit, no physical marijuana I.D. card required!
“Can I grow marijuana after I get my card?”
No, Florida law does not currently allow residents to grow their own marijuana plants. Only the licensed dispensing centers are permitted to do so.
Maintain communication with our doctors
At AMRX, our doctors keep in touch with our patients and are committed to ongoing communication. Our care doesn’t stop after you’ve received your card; in fact, we want to hear from you after you’ve had a chance to use your medication. Our doctors will want to know how you are responding to the dose and type of marijuana you purchased. That way, we can work with you to adjust any aspects of the medication that aren’t working as best they can.
“How much will it cost?”
For the initial certification period, costs include:
- The state’s application fee of $75
- The initial in-person visit with our doctors for $225
- The cost of the specific marijuana product you buy at the dispensary
The $225 consultation fee is waived IF our doctors determine you do not qualify for marijuana in Florida. So there’s no risk in finding out.
As you shop around for doctors, we hope you’ll keep the following in mind: At AMRX, our doctors and our entire staff are personally committed to real guidance and care. We won’t leave you out in the cold as you try to figure out how to complete your application; we’ll help you with each step. We encourage and request that our patients follow up with us after they’ve obtained their medication because we want to make sure it is working as well as possible. And we will make sure you find a dispensing organization you like and that serves your needs. Our doctors have a thorough understanding of the types of marijuana products available, and which devices and strains may be the best experience for you. In summary, we are here for our patients when they need us.
Step 2: Purchasing Marijuana at a Dispensary
Florida dispensaries are known as Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs). Under Florida law, MMTCs are allowed to grow, cultivate, manufacture and sell their own marijuana and marijuana products. Therefore, each dispensary has its own brand and array of products. You will see different items depending on the MMTC you choose.
At AMRX, our doctors want you to have the best possible experience from this herbal therapy. That’s why we help you choose an MMTC. We are familiar with the types of products each dispensary provides in our area. Rely on us to let you know which center is likely to carry the right medication for your ailment.
A few things to expect.
Not only will the array of medication vary by MMTC, so too will the prices. You can choose any product or combination you like, as long as they don’t violate any exceptions in your treatment recommendation. You can purchase any amount you like as long as that amount doesn’t exceed the 70-day allotment of medication you are allowed at once.
You may choose any state-licensed MMTC. Many of these centers offer free delivery of medication to your door, if that is something you are interested in.
“Can I take my medication to another state?”
No, Florida marijuana patients may use and possess their medication in our state only. You can face criminal charges for taking your medication over state lines, even if the other state has its own medical or recreational marijuana laws.
Step 3: Renewing Your Medical Marijuana Card
Your registration with a medical marijuana card is not indefinite. A certification period lasts 210 days, so you must come back to our practice for a face-to-face evaluation every 210 days in order to keep your marijuana listing active.
You will also see that your marijuana card is valid for 12 months and has an expiration date. Take a look at the date when you receive your card and make a calendar reminder to schedule an appointment with us 30-60 days before your card expires. That way, you won’t experience a lapse in medication. You will need to pay the $75 state registration fee each time you renew, plus our fees. This will ensure you continue to get the benefits of your medication without interruption.
Get Started on the Application Process
To find out if you are eligible for a Florida medical marijuana card, please arrange your in-person evaluation at our office by calling our friendly staff at 727-209-5470. Our elegant, comfortable St. Petersburg office is located across from the Bayfront Medical Center in a professional medical complex. We are proud to care for people from across our region of Florida, including Tampa and Orlando.
In this step-by-step guide, Dr. Lora Brown, shows you exactly how to get a Florida Medical Marijuana Card in 2020.
Florida Marijuana Laws
Historically Florida has had a strong anti-marijuana stance — but recently the state has made some significant steps forward. Recreational marijuana remains illegal, but in 2016 voters approved a comprehensive medical marijuana program. Learn more about Florida marijuana laws below.
Recreational Marijuana in Florida
Florida has some of the harshest recreational marijuana laws in all of the United States. The possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is charged as a misdemeanor with one year imprisonment and a fine of $1,000. Possession, use, or sale of anything greater than 20 grams is charged as a felony with prison time ranging from five years to 30 years and up to $200,000 in fines. Also, if you are convicted of a marijuana-related offense, the state of Florida can suspend your driver’s license for one year.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Marijuana
A mandatory minimum sentence is when a judge must sentence the defendant to at least the outlined mandatory minimum amount of jail time for violating a specified law. With other offenses, the judge is given some wiggle room to consider special circumstances, adjusting the defendant’s jail time to reflect the specifics of their individual case. However, with a mandatory minimum sentence, there is no ability to adjust the sentence based on the circumstances.
Many Florida marijuana laws include a mandatory minimum sentence for both possession and sale. For example, possession of between 25 and 2,000 lbs. of marijuana comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of three years, and possession of 2,000 to 10,000 lbs. of marijuana comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years of jail time.
Is Hash Legal Under Florida Marijuana Laws?
Also known as hashish, hash is an extremely potent cannabis product that is made using the resin found on marijuana plants. Hash features high levels of THC, so possessing any amount in Florida is classified as a felony. Being caught in possession of hash can result in up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Selling, delivering, or manufacturing hash is also a felony, and carries the same penalties as a possession.
Marijuana Concentrate in Florida
Marijuana concentrate is another highly potent form of cannabis, with all excess plant materials filtered out of the final product, leaving users with a very strong concentrate that only features cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Marijuana concentrates hold the exact same penalties as hash, with possession, sale, and/or delivery resulting in five years of jail time and a $5,000 fine.
Florida Marijuana Laws Regarding Drug Paraphernalia
“Marijuana paraphernalia” is any product used as an accessory for using marijuana, such as pipes and bongs. The possession of marijuana paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, with Florida marijuana law punishing those in possession of paraphernalia with up to one year of jail time and a $1,000 fine.
Local Decriminalization of Marijuana
Florida has several local jurisdictions that have passed local resolutions or laws that decriminalize the possession of marijuana or other cannabis products. For example, in Miami-Dade County, possessing up to 20 grams of marijuana only comes with a $100 fine.
Compare that penalty to the much more restrictive Florida marijuana law for the entire state, where the penalty for possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor that results in a $1,000 fine and up to a year of jail time. Check with your local Florida government for more details regarding the local decriminalization of marijuana.
Medical Marijuana in Florida
Florida had a very restrictive high-CBD, low-THC marijuana law for a couple of years before 71% of voters approved Amendment 2 in November 2016 to allow full medical cannabis. Amendment 2 went into effect January 3, 2017, and the Florida Legislature passed legislation that implemented the amendment in July 2017.
Under Florida’s Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions are allowed medical use of marijuana provided they have a doctor’s recommendation and an identification card. Home cultivation for medical purposes is not permitted under the law. The law does allow qualifying patients to have a caregiver who is at least 21 years old to assist in the collection and administering of medical cannabis.
Originally, Florida marijuana laws permitted only medical cannabis oils, sprays, tinctures, edibles, and vaping materials. While smoking marijuana was originally not permitted under the law, in 2018 Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers ruled that the constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters in 2016 broadly legalized medical marijuana and gave eligible patients the right to smoke marijuana in private. In March 2019, the Florida Legislature approved SB 182, a bill that overturns the ban on smokable forms of medical marijuana for adults and patients under 18 who are either diagnosed with a terminal illness or who have obtained a second recommendation from a pediatrician.
SB 182 also allows patients to order a 210-day supply of medical marijuana at a time, up from the original 70-day supply limit approved in the initial legislation.
Who Can Be Treated with Medical Marijuana Under Florida Marijuana Laws?
Florida’s medical marijuana program allows medical marijuana to be provided as treatment for patients with the following “debilitating medical conditions”:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- “Other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated”
Additionally, in June 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law HB 7107 to allow a cannabis-derived drug for children with epilepsy. The bill changes that specific drug’s classification in state law from a Schedule I substance to Schedule V.
Drugged Driving Laws in Florida
Drivers in Florida are forbidden from using their car or some other type of motor vehicle if there is any detectable level of THC and/or marijuana in their system. If you have recently consumed marijuana, even if it is legally obtained medical marijuana, do not operate a motor vehicle under any circumstances.
Consumption of CBD from Hemp Oil in Florida
While hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Florida
Even for first-time offenders, the cultivation of cannabis for any purpose is considered a felony in Florida. If found cultivating fewer than 25 plants, it is considered a third-degree felony punishable by incarceration up to five years and fines up to $5,000. If an individual is the owner of the property where more than 25 plants are being illegally cultivated, the offense is charged as a second-degree felony, punishable by 15 years in prison.
Florida’s Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in March 2016, permits certain dispensing organizations to grow and distribute cannabis.
In June 2017, Gov. Scott signed the Industrial Hemp Pilot Projects Bill, which gives Florida A&M University and the University of Florida permission to conduct research pilot projects on growing and selling hemp. Nearly two years later, in May 2019, the Florida Legislature passed a bill enabling the commercial production of hemp. Florida had its hemp regulatory plan approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in April 2020.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
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With more states legalizing the use of marijuana it can be hard to stay up to date on Florida marijuana laws. Click to learn more about marijuana laws in FL!