A lot has happened since the inception of medical marijuana legalization back in November 2016. Amendment 2 gave qualifying patients legal access to medical marijuana in Florida. Since then, over 300,000 patients have become approved for a medical marijuana card and can buy cannabis products from the 22 state-approved dispensaries.
How to Qualify
The only way to qualify for the Florida medical marijuana program is by becoming certified by a medical marijuana doctor in order to obtain a state-issued medical marijuana card. There are many conditions a patient can have which will qualify them for MMJ treatments.
- Chron’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Chronic pain due to a qualifying condition
And other comparable debilitating medical conditions in which a physician feels the benefits of cannabis outweigh any potential health risks.
Florida’s qualifying conditions, along with other rules and regulations, are set by the Office of Medical Marijuana Use. The OMMU is the state agency charged with governing the licensing of patients, doctors, and dispensaries.
Known Health & Wellness Benefits of Using Medical Marijuana
In Florida, we have had time to experience the health and wellness benefits from medical marijuana for a couple of years. However, cannabis legalization preceded Florida in states like California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and others. They have decades of accumulated data from doctors and their patients which documents the same basic benefits we have experienced in Florida.
People have been able to manage their symptoms from many conditions by successfully using cannabis. Moreover, many people have replaced traditional medications like opioids, which have more negative side effects and health risks than marijuana.
Some of the most popular conditions patients may treat are:
- Pain management
- Muscle spasms
- Cancer treatments
- Neurological disorders
- Seizures (Epidilox is a cannabis-derived medication for severe epilepsy patients which was approved for use in 2019 by the FDA)
Medical Marijuana Recommendations
In the state of Florida, medical marijuana is not prescribed the same way as ordinary medications. The medical marijuana doctor you see will give you a recommendation for medical marijuana instead of a prescription, but it serves a similar purpose.
An MMJ recommendation is broken down into categories like inhalation, topical, oral, CBD in Florida, and smokable marijuana, which was approved for patients in March 2019.
Patients must keep their medical marijuana recommendations up to date, along with the yearly renewal for their medical marijuana cards, as well.
Each type of cannabis recommendation, except for smokable flower, must be renewed every 70 days. Smokable flower is renewed every 35 days.
Most physicians include 210 days’ worth of medical marijuana recommendations for each patient and for any delivery device they need for their healthcare needs. These 210 days are basically your initial visit’s recommendation and 3 free refills, which get you to the state’s max of 210 days before needing to be recertified by the doctor.
Cost of Medical Marijuana in Florida
The costs involved with obtaining medical marijuana in Florida are straight forward but may vary slightly in some cases.
The fixed costs to the state include:
- $75.00 – medical marijuana ID card (Yearly registration fee)
Medical marijuana doctors and recommendation fees include:
- $150-$250 – Initial medical marijuana doctor appointment
- $99-$179 – 7-month medical marijuana certification renewal fee
The cost of medical marijuana products in Florida varies in each dispensary, and depends on discounts, and loyalty programs they offer, to all approved patients.
Overall, the cost of becoming a certified patient is still rather high when you factor in the price of the actual medicine you still need to purchase after receiving an MMJ card in the sunshine state.
Florida Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Expand
In 2020, there are 22 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Florida that can sell cannabis products to approved patients. The dispensaries in Florida can have up to 25 satellite locations serving patients throughout the state. Trulieve is the exception to this rule because they were granted 45 satellite locations due to their huge market and gigantic patient base.
The dispensaries in Florida are:
- Columbia Care
- Fluent (Formerly Knox-Medical)
- Grow Healthy
- Harvest House
- Liberty Health Sciences
Each dispensary offers different products with their own signature twist.
If you believe that cannabis could help you manage symptoms from a qualifying condition in Florida, then you can find relief in 2020. There are many different reasons that people use marijuana to treat their illnesses, and the future looks bright for the industry moving forward.
Under the care of the right physician, you can find the perfect medical marijuana treatment plan to fit your healthcare needs. Remember that state-certified medical marijuana doctors come from all different medical backgrounds. It is important to choose a physician who specializes in your specific healthcare conditions. That way you can ensure they have the experience treating similar symptoms successfully using cannabis. Plus, they can recommend strains, and dosages that already work with other patients under their care.