Cannabis Treatment: Your Guide to Medical Marijuana Laws in Florida
Let’s start with the obvious: you can’t just buy medical marijuana in Florida. First, you must have a recommendation first. And this brings us to a common misconception.
Before you can get a recommendation, you must go to a qualified physician in order to take a special exam. However, the doctor is unable to directly give you a recommendation for marijuana.
Instead, the physician assesses whether you have a qualifying condition (more on this later). If you do qualify, the doctor can recommend you for the state’s medical marijuana registry. From here, you can apply to get the state identification card (many simply refer to this as your “weed card”).
This requires additional paperwork, and you’ll have to pay a separate $75 fee. And once you have your card, you will have to renew it each year.
Not Everyone Qualifies
Different states have different qualifications for a weed card. For example, California is well-known for having very easy requirements to qualify for a card.
Unfortunately, Florida is a bit more restrictive. The general requirement is that you must have some kind of debilitating medical condition.
Examples of these conditions include Parkinson’s, Crohn’s, HIV, AIDS, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, ALS, or any terminal illness.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of everything that qualifies. It is ultimately up to the physician whether your condition actually qualifies.
Can I Grow My Own?
The ultimate goal of getting a weed card is simple: you can then buy your weed from a local dispensary. However, many who qualify wonder if they can cut out the middle man and grow their own weed after getting a card.
In short, the answer is “no.” The state of Florida wants to strictly limit who can grow marijuana in any form. In fact, the only way you can grow your own is to get a license from the state to grow (and, presumably, to sell).
Florida has restricted how many of these licenses they give out. And if you’re thinking about buying a license from someone else, good luck: some of them sell for as high as $55 million!
Long story short? It’s “dispensary or bust” when it comes to your medical marijuana needs.
Who Is Selling It?
As we have detailed, the only place where you can get your medical marijuana in Florida is a dispensary. But where can you find a dispensary?
Unfortunately, there may not be a dispensary that is overly close to you. While Florida has about 100 approved dispensaries, the state itself is very large. Thus, there may be fewer dispensaries in certain locations (such as the Panhandle).
All of these dispensaries are operated by 14 companies. Fortunately, these companies are likely to expand their operations in the near future. If there is not currently a dispensary close to you, that may change very soon.
What Are My Options?
So, you’ve gotten approved and have your weed card. You’ve even found a nearby dispensary. What can you expect to find once you go inside?
We’ll be honest with you: it may be time to temper your expectations. If you are expecting all of the different options that you’d find in a Las Vegas dispensary, you’re going to be disappointed.
For example, the state has currently banned any kind of smokeable marijuana, although that is likely to change in the future. Similarly, rules regarding things like edibles are still being hashed out.
At this moment, you are likely to find oral options such as pills and breathable options such as vapes. There are also topical solutions which are very useful and very popular.
While the current medical marijuana scene is very limited in the state, the THC possibilities are growing (so to speak) every day.
Do I Have to Get High?
While many patients love the experience of getting high, it’s really not for everyone. So, do you have to get high with medical marijuana?
The answer is “no.” The exact high (or lack of high) you get is determined by what kind of product you use and how much of it you take.
Furthermore, you should get a recommendation that is tailored to your exact condition. It may be enough to help with your pain without truly making you high.
What About My Insurance?
Medical marijuana is explicitly designed to help treat various medical conditions. That brings up a pretty natural question: is this going to be covered by your insurance?
Sadly, the answer is no. This is because your insurance is tied to federal laws regarding marijuana rather than state laws.
That brings us to our last important fact: you must understand the ramifications of using marijuana, even in a legal state.
Federal vs. State Issues
Make no mistake: marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. And this causes potential problems for many people using this product within the state.
For example, insurance cannot cover a federally illegal substance. This is why your recommendation will not be covered no matter how severe your diagnosis.
Veterans suffering from conditions such as PTSD may be at risk as well. The PTSD qualifies them for marijuana, but they may lose their medical benefits if they test positive for the substance.
With any luck, marijuana will be federally decriminalized in the future. Until then, you must be careful in your use of the substance.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Florida: Light It Up
Now you know more about medical marijuana laws in Florida. But do you know who can help you get marijuana for your condition?
We specialize in organically boosting and maintaining your health. To see how we can help with the weed card process and beyond, contact us today!