Florida is home to some of the world’s endangered species, several beautiful locations perfect for outdoor adventures, the longest coastline, and Jacksonville, the largest city in the US. The state also serves as a place where different cultural backgrounds thrive.
Aside from its rich and diverse natural resources, Florida is also among the US states known to have legalized the use of medical marijuana. Provided, patients seeking to purchase and use the herb for therapeutic use must first secure their Florida medical marijuana card.
Recreational use of cannabis is not yet legalized in Florida. While medical marijuana is allowed, there are specific steps and qualifications that residents must adhere to first before securing ownership of a medical marijuana card.
The first and most important requirement is for residents to acquire a recommendation from a local physician. The endorsement certifies that the individual or patient is suffering from a health condition that the state qualifies as viable for alternative medication using marijuana.
It is vital to note, nevertheless, that patients cannot seek recommendations from just any physician. The recommending physician must have completed the educational requirements for prescribing and assessing the use of medical marijuana as mandated by the state.
If the patient’s conditions fit the alternative medication, the physician then sends their recommendations to the Department of Health in Florida.
Qualifying conditions for medical cannabis include:
- Crohn’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
Once the recommendations are approved, it will take around 2-3 weeks before a confirmation email is sent to the patient. There is also an online application that patients need to complete. The application comes with a registration fee amounting to $75.
Patients who’ve received a confirmation email from the state’s Department of Health may proceed to purchase medical cannabis even if they are still awaiting the arrival of their card.
Both permanent and temporary residents are allowed to avail of the certification for cannabis medication. The applicant should present a photocopy of the House deed or their proof of residency, along with any of the following: State ID, passport, driver’s license, or utility bill that covers at most two months’ worth of consumption.
Patients who’ve successfully acquired their cards are required by the state to visit their physician every 210 days. This protocol is needed to monitor the effects of medicinal cannabis on their health and overall well-being. If needed, physicians may increase or lower the dosage taken by the patient to ensure maximum effectiveness of the herb.
The Sunshine State’s history with marijuana was not a smooth-sailing one. Presently, individuals caught in possession of up to 20g of marijuana may be fined $1000 or face charges of a misdemeanor and serve jail time for up to 12 months. It was only in 2016 that the Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative was passed into law after garnering the majority of the people’s votes. Earlier in June 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the Compassionate Cannabis Act. The law authorizes the use of cannabis oil with high CBD and low THC levels for medicating epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and cancer.
The existing guidelines for Florida medical marijuana cards seek to address the individual concerns of every patient in need of alternative medication. It also helps prohibit the possible abuse of the law’s provisions.
It serves as a reminder that with proper regulation, natural medicinal countermeasures for terminal and life-threatening illnesses can benefit several people in the long run.