There are more than 300,000 medical-marijuana-use licenses in Florida. The state has some of the most relaxed medical marijuana rules. Patients are nevertheless required to prove their eligibility for medical marijuana cards. Here is an overview of the qualifications that patients must meet.
Proof of Residence
Florida issues medical marijuana cards only to the state’s permanent and seasonal residents. Every applicant should provide concrete proof that they fit into either one of the two categories.
Any official document that includes your official residence status will suffice as proof. Permanent residents should bring their passports, drivers’ licenses, and other identification forms. Seasonal residents can prove their comings and goings using long-term utility bills, title deeds, mortgages, and any other document that can prove they visit and stay occasionally.
You have to be sick with a disease that is treated or managed using marijuana to get a medical marijuana card. Qualifying diseases include:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Chronic muscle spasms
- Lou Gehrig’s Disease
- Terminal illness
Other diseases that share certain specific symptoms with the conditions on this list may also qualify. There are lots of possibilities, but your doctor will make the decision.
You will also need a doctor’s formal diagnosis report to prove that you are indeed suffering from a disease that warrants a medical marijuana card. The diagnosis should be performed by a doctor who has successfully undertaken the state-mandated training.
There are more than 2,000 qualified to diagnose medical marijuana-related cases across Florida. There also are many medical marijuana clinics spread out all over the state. You can visit any of these clinics or search for a qualified doctor online.
The state has the necessary tools to help patients find qualified doctors online. You can simply search for one using search tools provided by Florida’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use or via the Department of Health.
Patients under the age of 18 should also have a second physician present to witness and verify the diagnosis. This is necessary to discourage kids and teenagers from abusing marijuana using poor health as an excuse.
The doctor will add you to the Medical Marijuana Use Registry following a successful diagnosis and evaluation. The diagnosing doctor will also be involved in the card’s application process, and he/she may also conduct follow-up checks depending on your preferences.
Keep an Open Mind
The requirements listed above are the basic qualifications for a medical marijuana card. The doctor or clinic you go to may have a different set of requirements.
For example, it is standard practice for most doctors to test for drug and substance abuse. They do this to weed out drug abusers and, in few cases, to plan for how these other substances will react with medical marijuana.
It is also standard practice for many doctors to consult the patients’ personal doctors. This is done to get the patients’ medical charts and histories, which often prove essential when performing the diagnosis and making the final decision.
Applying for the Medical Marijuana Card
You can go ahead and apply for the medical marijuana card if you are confident in your qualifications. The process is simple and fairly quick.
Applicants can submit their applications either online or by mail – if you choose the latter, send your application to the Office Medical Marijuana Use PO Box 31313 Tampa FL, 33631-3313. The application should include a passport-style photograph and other documents proving your eligibility, which will be provided by the diagnosing doctor.
It may take up to 10 business days for the Office of Medical Marijuana Use to review and approve your application. Applicants will also be charged an application fee of $75. Other additional fees may apply to cover for testing and other complementary services.
You can start using your medical marijuana card immediately after approval. You will need to present it to any licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Center when buying your medical marijuana.
You should also carry your medical marijuana card with you for emergency purposes in case you run into a misunderstanding with the authorities. Remember: marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, and the use of medical marijuana in Florida is highly regulated.
It should also be noted that the medical marijuana card has an expiry date. Cardholders are advised to make renewal applications at least 45 days before the due expiry date. Renewals also take several business days to review, and the patient will be required to pay renewal fees.
Getting a medical marijuana card in Florida is easy, but you have to prove your eligibility. The requirements are basic: proof of illness and proof of residence. Approval, however, is not always guaranteed, so avoid making silly mistakes.
At MMJ Doctors, you can get in touch with a licensed medical marijuana practitioner, who will guide you on the process of getting your medical marijuana card. You can learn more about how medical marijuana cards and laws work in Florida here.