The 411 on the Compassionate Use Registry Florida Medical Marijuana Card
How can you get a Florida marijuana card today? What are the benefits of having a Florida mmj card? And...how should you go about finding a cannabis and/or CBD card provider in Florida that’s qualified and versed on the medicinal benefits?
Back in 2016, Florida voters passed Amendment 2 of the 2014 "Charlotte's Web" bill to extend legal access to medical marijuana cards for residents with a wide range of qualifying conditions. The legislation, which came into effect in January of 2017, expands the state’s original definition of "debilitating medical condition" and allows certified physicians to prescribe medical cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD) oil containing full-strength medicinal benefits to covered individuals.
Previously, according to 2014 state law, only cannabis low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but rich in cannabidiol was legal in Florida. The primary objective of the 2014 measure was to permit a request for access to low-THC (but high cannabidiol) marijuana for people with epilepsy in order to mitigate the occurrence and effect of unexpected (and crippling) seizures. Florida’s 2014 Charlotte's Web bill, which amended the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), also allowed the use of CBD oil for people with cancer, terminal illness, muscle spasms, and epilepsy.
But in 2016—after years of legal wrangling, research, and refinement of legislation—the state of Florida voted in favor of Amendment 2, establishing what is now known as the Office of Medical Marijuana. The legalization of the measure opened the door to medical marijuana, regardless of THC level, for residents with a broader spectrum of debilitating conditions.
Who Qualifies for a Florida Medical Marijuana Card?
According to the Florida Department of Health Office of Compassionate Use, Florida residents with any of the following conditions are eligible for medical marijuana and permitted to apply for a medical marijuana card.
● Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
● Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
● Crohn’s disease
● Parkinson’s disease
● Multiple sclerosis (MS)
● Comparable medical conditions to those listed above
● A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the medical marijuana doctor
● Chronic non-malignant pain caused by (or originating from) any of the above medical conditions and that continues beyond the typical trajectory of the condition
Benefits of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card
Compared to recreational cannabis, (illegal in Florida), getting a medical marijuana card benefits patients by:
- Enhancing the ease of accessibility and use from access to compassionate dispensing organizations
- Ensuring the use of clinically evaluated and certified products
- Increasing product consistency
- Eliminating legal ramifications associated with recreational use
- Mitigating potential law enforcement issues surrounding cannabis possession
- Curtailing any stresses stemming from unauthorized use
It’s also noteworthy to mention that while smoking the cannabis plant is not authorized under current Florida law, qualified patients with the Florida MMJ card can legally consume medical marijuana by vaping, oils, sprays, edibles, and pills. Medical marijuana in the form of edibles has proven to be an effective way of dosing because you know exactly how much you’re ingesting. Vaporizing also provides a cleaner, more healthy, and smoother cannabis experience by eliminating the potential risks (e.g. tar and carcinogens) posed by traditional marijuana smoking activities.
Low-THC Cannabis vs. Medical Cannabis
Both low-THC cannabis and medical marijuana are legal for qualified Florida residents. Compared to medical-grade cannabis, low-THC cannabis has much less of the psychoactive property tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so it doesn’t typically cause the same euphoric experience or “high” that more pronounced levels of THC have been known to stimulate after crossing the blood-brain barrier.
In order to qualify as a compliant low-THC marijuana, 0.8% or less of THC and more than 10% of cannabidiol (CBD) is required. This includes the overall weight for weight found in the resin, seeds, flowers, and any other cannabis-derived supplement available to qualified Florida residents as low-THC.
How to Get a Low-THC Cannabis & Florida Marijuana Card
In order to get a Florida marijuana card, the following items must be met.
- You have be at least 18 years old and a resident of the state with a legitimate Florida I.D, passport, or another form of identification.
a. If an applicant is younger than 18 years old or terminally ill, a separate (i.e. secondary) doctor must agree that the risks of medical marijuana or low-THC treatment are reasonable. This determination should also be outlined in the patient’s medical records.
b. For people that are not a legal Florida resident or are from another state, the Florida Department of Health is responsible for determining qualification on an individual, case-by-case basis.
- A physician in the state of Florida—whose registered with the Medical Marijuana Use Registry—must sign a statement diagnosing a Florida resident with a qualifying condition for low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana. This typically entails obtaining and presenting your medical records to the physician.
a. To diagnose and issue a written certification, the health care professional (i.e. Florida MMJ card evaluator) must be a qualified medical doctor (MD) or osteopathic physician (Osteopathic).
b. MMJ card evaluators/physicians must successfully complete a qualified Continuing Medical Education (CME) course to recommend a Florida medical marijuana card.
c. Physicians must determine that the risks of treating a medical cannabis patient are reasonable in comparison to the potential benefits.
d. Patients requesting medical marijuana cards must have tried other treatments (but without success).
e. Patients must have been undergoing treatment by the ordering doctor for at least 3 months prior to diagnosis.
f. The ordering physician must write new cannabis orders for patients every 45 days using the online Medical Marijuana Use Registry (aka the Compassionate Care Registry) and prescribe no more than a 45-day supply.
g. Medical cannabis physicians must create, maintain, and submit patient treatment plans to the Florida College of Pharmacy on a quarterly basis. This includes instructions for dosage, route of administration, planned duration, and monitoring protocol.
- MMJ card evaluators/medical marijuana doctors need to obtain voluntary, written, and informed consent from you, the patient, or a legal guardian before enrolling you into the Compassionate Care Registry, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Health. While applications can either be submitted by you or your prescribing physician, you have to be registered with the Compassionate Use Registry by your ordering physician before your application can be considered.
- Once in the Registry, you can then apply for a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card. As of March 2017, a Registry Identification Card is required to fill an order for low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device in Florida.
a. Application approval is by far the longest part of the process. In fact, in certain instances, it can take 2+ months for the DOH to review an application and issue a Florida MMJ card, even if all the necessary paperwork is in order.
b. The Compassionate Use Registry must be updated within 7 days of any change to your application.
c. Please note: Your physician or legal rep can submit your Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification application on your behalf, but you may incur additional fees if you go this route.
- Once you obtain your legal Compassionate Use Registry Card, you (or someone who is permitted to legally represent you) can then purchase cannabis products from a licensed medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) anywhere in the state of Florida.
Cost of the Florida Medical Marijuana Card
When applying for a medical marijuana card (i.e. Compassionate Use Registry Card) in Florida, there are a few fees and payment obligations to keep in mind.
- The initial fee required to meet with a qualified physician, which can be $185 or less with the right doctor.
- Colored, passport-style photographs are mandated, which entails an additional cost.
- Once a medical marijuana card is issued, registration has to be renewed each year (i.e. currently $75).
Selecting a Provider of Medical Marijuana Cards in Florida
Strategically comparing physician evaluation clinics and providers of Florida medical marijuana cards is just as important as evaluating a doctor in any type of field or discipline today.
As such, when selecting a cannabis doctor in Florida (or anywhere for that matter), it’s important to keep a lookout for physicians that provide upfront and comprehensive information on the different cannabis products available. Medical marijuana doctors who are also sincere and attentive to your needs and individual situation can help you successfully identify the best course of action to achieve your herbal medicine and health goals. Patients and caregivers no longer need to visit doctors monthly for 90 days before they can get their card.
Florida Marijuana Registry
The 2016 Amendment 2 to Florida’s Compassionate Care Act legalized the medical marijuana Florida's Office of Medical Marijuana Use. Specialized CBD doctors can now certify qualifying patients for the Medical Marijuana Use registry. Patients can reach the Registry as follows:
|Mailing AddressPatient and Caregiver ID Card Applications & Accompanying Documents:||Office of Medical Marijuana Use|
PO Box 31313
Tampa, FL 33631-3313
|All Other Mail:||Department of Health|
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin M-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399
For more information, see our related pages “Cannabis Card Benefits“ and “How to Get Your Marijuana Card”. To learn more marijuana facts, visit our medical marijuana FAQ page. Call us at (786) 953-6838 to schedule an appointment and get your marijuana card today! Whether you’re just doing some research or you’re ready to get your MMJ card, we’re here to help.