How to get your Florida Medical Marijuana Card
Hello everyone, welcome to our first blog post! All journeys have first steps and using medical marijuana for therapeutic benefits is no different. While the medical marijuana industry in Florida has come a long way since passing in November 2016, many of the same questions still persist for inquiring patients the most common of which being:
Who qualifies and how do I get my medical marijuana card?
In November 2016, Floridians elected to pass Amendment 2 by a 71% majority. This allowed for the production, possession, and use of medical marijuana. In order to qualify for a medical marijuana card, a patient must be a permanent or seasonal resident of Florida, have a qualifying condition listed under Amendment 2, and obtain a recommendation from a certified physician.
The state defines these conditions for which a patient qualifies for a medical marijuana card: HIV/AIDS, cancer, ALS, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, Chron’s disease and chronic non-malignant pain.
The state further expands this list by stating “debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”
This may sound like a lot of legal jargon, but put simply, if a physician deems your condition to be as serious as one listed, you probably qualify. The most common diagnosis people qualify for medical marijuana that we’ve seen in our office are anxiety, depression, and/or insomnia. While none are specifically listed, all are similar in class and comparable to PTSD. Talk to your physician if you are unsure if you qualify for a medical marijuana card. For an expanded list of qualifying conditions click here.
For a patient with a qualifying condition to get a medical marijuana card, they must have a consultation with a certified physician. A good physician will review your medical history and discuss various aspects of cannabis. Such topics can include understanding Indicas vs Sativas, how cannabis therapeutically affects you, and which products to use.
A physician that deems a patient qualified will then create an account with the State of Florida’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry, a branch of the Department of Health. After this account is created the patient must apply to the State for their card.
This can all be done same day and a good clinic will guide patients through that process before they leave the office. After a patient applies for the card, there is a 10 business day period to process the application. Upon approval, a patient will receive an email that acts as a temporary card. This will allow patients to start purchasing products from an approved Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) commonly known as a dispensary. It can take up to a month form your appointment before receiving your physical card in the mail.
Please note that minors can qualify for a medical marijuana card with parental/guardian approval and from two certified medical cannabis physicians.
How long is my medical marijuana card good for?
One aspect of the medical marijuana process that often confuses patients is the difference between the medical card and the physician’s orders.
Orders or recommendations, are synonymous with a prescription. They are provided by a physician and can be written for a maximum of 210 days as three 70-day orders or roughly seven months. These orders are written individually. Therefore, a patient that wants access to 210 days of smokable flower, high-dose THC products (like vape cartridges and liquid tinctures), and CBD products with low THC must get nine different orders from a physician.
This is important to understand because NOT ALL PHYSICIANS WRITE FOR 7 MONTHS AND NOT ALL PHYSICIANS WRITE FOR ALL PRODUCTS AVAILABLE. If you are looking for a medical cannabis provider in Florida, make sure you ask about the duration of your orders as well as the products you can purchase. If you are interested in smokable flower, state this to your physician. Much like any other prescription medication, patients must be seen by a physician every seven months per state law to renew their orders.
Your medical marijuana card is separate from your orders and it is good for one year. Your medical marijuana card is issued by the State of Florida and is your access into a MMTC.
A simplified analogy would be your medical marijuana card is the cover charge into a club and your orders are the drinks you can buy once you’re in the club. The card is ALWAYS valid for one year.
How much does a medical marijuana card cost?
The cost of the appointment varies from physician to physician. Some physicians will charge individually for the consultation, the qualification into the state registry, and for the orders. These physicians can charge as much as $350-$400 and you still may not even get a full seven month order with all products written for. If you come across one of these physicians, please make sure you look elsewhere to compare prices and services.
On the lowest end, a physician will charge around $150 for the consultation, qualifications, and orders. Duration of orders may vary, so please inquire per practice. Lastly, any reputable physician will offer a 100% money back guarantee for patients that don’t qualify. Patients, on a maximum order, must be seen every 7 months as per State law as stated before.
The cost of the medical marijuana card itself is $77.75 ($75 + $2.75 credit card convenience charge) and is always valid for one year. The cost of the card is paid to the State of Florida directly. Some physicians include this charge in their office visit whereas others do not. Most dispensaries offset this cost by numerous discounts and promotions; the most popular promotion being “spend $150 or more on products, get $75 off your purchase”. Most dispensaries run this promotion or something similar and can be used at all dispensary franchise. For example, you can use it your promotion once at dispensary A, once at B, once at C, so on and so forth. Cards must be renewed yearly and can be done so without being seen by a physician.
While this may sound a bit complicated and drawn out, the process of getting your medical marijuana card in Florida is easier and quicker than ever before. However, without an understanding of the medical marijuana process, it can quickly become costly for and offputting to patients and the last thing we want is patients missing out on an opportunity to find relief due to high cost and bad information.
Who are we and why do we know what we’re talking about?
While some of you know us, for those that don’t, my name is Taylor Levy and my dad is Dr. Carlos Levy. In January 2019, Dr. Levy began working as a medical cannabis physician for a company we’ll call COMPANY.
COMPANY is a franchise with over 20 offices all over the state. They are an extraordinary company that we would recommend to anyone; in fact, we continue to be affiliated with them today. However, Dr. Levy with 33 years of medical experience in south Florida, knew he could build upon what COMPANY began by providing the same high quality service with a more personal office feel. Throughout the summer we started having serious discussions about starting our own practice and by August, excitedly decided to green light our own medical marijuana office. Fast forward through months of building our organizational structure and on November 16, 2019 we saw our first patient.
In the seven months since, we have seen nearly 300 more patients and as we have begun seeing patients for their renewal orders, what has amazed me beyond expectations have been our results.
Not just the medications people are getting off of, but the NUMBER of drugs people are getting off. One of our earliest patients is a former patient of Dr. Levy’s primary care practice. When we saw her in November, she was taking four classes of medications: opiates (painkillers), benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety), SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor; anti-depressants), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Today, she is completely independent from all four classes of medications, with her daughter telling us, “she is a completely different person”.
We know what we’re talking about because we’ve seen it, we’ve done it, and we’ve had successful results over and over again. For us, our highest goal is to educate everyone on the benefits of medical marijuana.
Whether or not you’re a patient of ours, we want all Florida medical marijuana patients to be equipped with the proper knowledge on medical marijuana and how to use it to their medical benefit for maximum therapeutic relief. Furthermore, we want patients to understand their legal rights, the administrative process of getting their medical marijuana card, the dispensary experience, and so much more. In that, we will continue to work hard to be reliable source of information for all medical marijuana patients in regards to all things medical marijuana.
I hope you all found our first post informative. For those that have been hesitant to get your medical marijuana card, may this article will be a stepping stone for you on your path to a life in less pain and less dependent on pharmaceutical medications.
We look forward to bringing you all more content from all corners of the cannabis sphere. From medical information, dispensary information, strain information, and so much more, we will strive to put out high quality content on a consistent schedule. As we work through these early stages of blog writing and finding both our balance and voice, we will aim to be more regimented in issuing these posts. For now though, stay tuned for the next!