Drug Crimes

How To Register For A Medical Marijuana Card In Florida

While the process is relatively straight forward, the benefit of a medical marijuana card is only available to patients suffering from a qualifying medical condition. In this post, we take a closer look at how to apply for a medical marijuana card in Florida.

As criminal defense attorneys that defend individuals convicted of drug use and possession, we often get asked about the process for obtaining a medical marijuana card. While the process is relatively straight forward, the benefit of a medical marijuana card is only available to patients suffering from a qualifying medical condition. In this post, we take a closer look at how to apply for a medical marijuana card in Florida.

Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative

The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, was approved by more than 60% of Florida voters. Prior to the passage of Amendment 2, Florida had a medical marijuana law in place, but it was only for terminally patients who had less than one year to live. Amendment 2 expanded that law to include other medical conditions, such as cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s disease and Chron’s disease. Under the amendment, patients may be prescribed medical marijuana if the prescribing physician believes that the use of cannabis will outweigh the potential health risks.

The law does not allow individuals with a medical marijuana card to smoke the actual marijuana flower. Moreover, it is still illegal to grow your own marijuana. Instead, medical marijuana card holders can consume cannabis in edibles, or by using vaping pens, oils, sprays or pills, purchased from a state-licensed dispensary.  

Applying For A Medical Marijuana Card In Florida

To get a medical marijuana card in Florida, you must be a resident of the state. You will need to provide proof of residency, such as a driver’s license, a state issued I.D., a passport or some other form of photo identification. If you are a resident of another state, it may still be possible to get a medical marijuana card. However, medical marijuana cards for non-residents are issued on a case-by-case basis by the Florida Department of Health.

Aside from establishing residency, the first step to getting a medical marijuana card in Florida is obtaining your historical medical records. Then, you will need to seek a signed physician’s statement from a doctor registered with the state of Florida’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry who also has a medical marijuana license. Before the physician’s statement is valid, you must be a patient of the doctor for at least 3 months.

After you have a diagnosis from a qualified physician, you are eligible to apply for a medical marijuana card. Before you actually get a medical marijuana card, however, the prescribing physician must enter your name and information into the Marijuana Use Registry (also known as the Compassionate Care Registry) which is operated by the U.S. Department of Health. Once you are officially in the registry, then you can apply for your medical marijuana card.

After your name is added to the Marijuana Use Registry, you can submit a completed application to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use. If you are unable to submit an application, your physician or legal representative can submit an application on your behalf. You can to submit either an electronic application online or a paper application.

At this point in the process, it is best to be patient. Submitting an application the Office of Medical Marijuana Use can be a lengthy ordeal. It could take months for the Department of Health to review your medical marijuana application and issue your card.

Medical Marijuana Card Fees

When you apply for a medical marijuana card in Florida, you must pay two fees. The first fee is to meet with a qualified physician, which can vary in cost. Then there is the registration fee for the application, which is $75. In addition, there is an annual renewal fee of $75.

Who Can Be Prescribed Medical Marijuana

In order to legally consume medical marijuana in Florida, patients must meet several requirements. First, the patient must be diagnosed with a qualifying condition, including any of the following:

  • ALS
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • epilepsy
  • glaucoma
  • Seizures
  • Chronic muscle spasms
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • PTSD
  • or any other ailment/condition where a physician has determined that the medical use of marijuana would surpass any potential health risks

The patient must also be a Florida resident. If the patient is under the age of 18, a second physician must agree that medical marijuana is an appropriate treatment. In addition, the patient must have tried other treatments without success. Finally, the patient must be registered with the Compassionate Use Registry by the ordering physician.

What Happens After You Get A Medical Marijuana Card

Once you have a medical marijuana card, you are permitted to purchase medical marijuana through a licensed medical marijuana treatment center in the state of Florida. Remember, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Even with a medical marijuana card, you are not able to grow your own marijuana. Only dispensing organizations licensed by the state of Florida are permitted to grow and sale marijuana.

When consuming medical marijuana, remember to do so responsibly. Though you are permitted to consume cannabis, doing so publicly could lead to confrontation with law enforcement. In addition, consuming marijuana may affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle and lead to a DUI arrest.

While you are able to consumer medical marijuana in Florida, you are not able to take the treatment across state lines. If you take medical marijuana across state lines, you could face federal and local charges. This is the case even if you are traveling to states where medical marijuana is also legal.

To maintain an active medical marijuana card, you or your legal representative must submit a renewal application along with the renewal fee 45 days prior to the card’s expiration date.

A medical marijuana card is not a license to openly smoke cannabis without legal repercussion. It is a prescribed drug intended to treat a specific set of illnesses and ailments. To find out if medical marijuana in right for you, meet with a qualified physician to discuss treatment options.

Gregory Salnick

Mr. Salnick is a Florida Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law. He began his legal career at the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office where he prosecuted over 90 jury trials, ranging from DUI to murder, armed robbery and drug trafficking. Mr. Salnick quickly gained a reputation as a tenacious and ethical attorney at law. Mr. Salnick now serves as state and federal criminal defense attorney at Salnick & Fuchs, P. A.

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