During the first nine months of 2018 alone, over 136,000 patients received certifications for medical marijuana in Florida. It’s now easier than ever to receive a medical marijuana card, but how do you know where to start?
If you’ve never applied for a Florida medical marijuana card before, you might be wondering how you begin the process or if you qualify. While it’s not as simple as going to any doctor, it doesn’t have to be confusing.
There are a few things you should know about medical marijuana and Florida laws before you apply. We go over all the costs and which conditions qualify for a recommendation. We also talk about which steps to take and how long it takes to get your card.
Find out what to expect and how to go through the process in this step-by-step guide.
Approved Conditions for Medical Marijuana in Florida
Before you find a doctor and book an appointment, make sure you qualify for a medical marijuana prescription. The conditions that qualify are listed in Amendment 2, also known as the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative.
Currently, the law only allows a prescription if you have certain conditions, such as those on the list below.
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Chronic Nonmalignant Pain
- Terminal Illness
Some of these conditions may require further examination, such as a psychiatric diagnosis. Other debilitating medical conditions qualify if they are in a similar class to those listed in Amendment 2.
A physician may write a recommendation if they believe the use of medical marijuana outweighs any possible health risks. In the end, your doctor will determine if you are a good candidate for a medical marijuana card or not.
Find a State-Certified Doctor
The next step is finding a doctor licensed to prescribe medical marijuana. Before you can legally buy medical marijuana, you need a signed physician’s statement.
Qualifying doctors must complete a state-mandated course. This means you can’t ask just any doctor for a prescription, so prepare to book a consultation. Initial visits for new patients usually cost between $200-300.
You must prove you have one of the approved conditions. For this reason, you should bring a copy of your medical history to your appointment.
To receive a copy of your records, contact your primary care doctor. You can request a copy of your medical history via email, fax, or through the mail.
Book an Appointment and Visit Your Doctor
Once you have found a medical marijuana doctor, you have to set up an appointment for a consultation.
At your appointment, your doctor will discuss your medical history and treatment options. During this time, they will take your blood pressure, go over dosage, and answer any questions you may have.
If you qualify, your physician will write a recommendation. Again, some qualifying conditions may need further diagnosis. If not, your doctor enters your information into the Florida Marijuana Use Registry.
Once completed, you’ll receive your patient ID number.
Fill out the Application Online
To receive your ID card, you must fill out a form with your patient ID number. Patients may apply either online or by mail. Your doctor will explain to you how to apply.
Applications must include:
- Proof of residency
- Picture of Florida driver’s license or state identification card
- $75 application fee
For paper applications, address checks to the Florida Department Of Health. Also, make sure to include your patient ID number and your birth date. For mailed applications, use the address provided on the form.
There is a five-day processing period for online payments. This time frame only includes business days. After payment is accepted, you may have to wait a few extra days for final approval.
The process may take longer due to holidays or other circumstances. Provide your email address in the application form to receive important updates. These updates may include the status of your application and any further instructions.
Receive Your Florida Medical Marijuana Card in the Mail
Once approved, you will receive your physical card in the mail. Before your card arrives, you should get a temporary ID via email. You may use this temporary ID to buy medical cannabis until you receive your actual card.
You may use your card to buy medical marijuana at any certified dispensary or Medical Marijuana Treatment Center. If you’re nervous about visiting a dispensary for the first time, you can study up and learn the basics first.
Medical marijuana cards in Florida are good for one year before they expire. Before they expire, make sure to renew your card and set up another appointment with your doctor.
Medical Marijuana Card Renewals
To renew your medical marijuana card, patients must go through a reevaluation. This means you will need to book a new appointment and talk to your doctor again. This also means you must pay another consultation fee.
The price for an office visit may be different for returning patients versus first-time patients. Remember, insurance does not cover your consultation fees and you may not be able to pay with a credit card. You can call to ask what the accepted payment types are before your return visit.
You must complete an application renewal form 45 days before the expiration date on your card. This gives you time to prevent any problems with your legal protection.
Get Started and Discover How Medical Marijuana Can Help You
Receiving your Florida medical marijuana card should be a straightforward and hassle-free experience if you follow these steps.
Remember, the time frame between your first appointment and receiving your card in the mail may differ from patient to patient. While some people report getting their card in ten days or less, it may take several weeks for yours to arrive.
It’s important to follow all Florida laws regarding medical marijuana. If you’re unsure or if you have any questions, be sure to ask your doctor.
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