Medical Marijuana Industry in Florida
It is nearly three years since medical marijuana became legal in Florida, although it remains illegal under federal law at this time. However, there has been no effort as of this time by the federal authorities to interfere with the prescribing and dispensing of medical cannabis in the state. The legalization of medical marijuana in Florida occurred after some roughly 71 percent of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that expanded the list of qualified medical conditions.
How to Qualify for Medical Marijuana in Florida
To become a medical marijuana patient, a Florida resident must take the following steps:
- See a qualified physician for a certification exam.
- Register and obtain a medical marijuana use registry identification card.
- Once you have your approval email or card, purchase your medication at any state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary.
Not every Florida physician, not just any Florida physician, can legally certify you for a marijuana card. The physician you select (and Miami Aid Wellness will guide you in your selection) will do an initial exam, take into account medical records, and may diagnose a qualifying condition. These are all necessary preliminary steps before you can apply for your card. Typical charges in Miami range anywhere from $150-$250 for an examination. You must show you have one of the approved conditions, and that’s not all.
Once a qualified physician has placed you on the state’s medical marijuana use registry, you are now eligible to apply for a state identification card that you can use to obtain your medical cannabis. You or your caregiver must submit an application to the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use. You can mail your application in or apply online, enclosing or attaching a copy of a state ID or proof of residency and the applicable fee, which is $75. These identification cards expire one year after the approved date. To re-register, you (or your caregiver) can renew by submitting an application 45 days before the expiration date. It usually takes around two to four weeks to get your card after you have gone through steps 1 and 2 described above. The state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use recently cited the following statistics: Paper applications were being processed in about 23 days, and online applications took about 5 – 10 days. Fortunately, however, patients no longer have to wait for a physical card to come in the mail. Temporarily they are able to use an e-mail approval from the state.
The following information further applies:
You must be a Florida resident with a valid Florida I.D. as proof of residency. If you do not have a Florida I.D., an out of state I.D., passport, or other photo I.D. along with proof of Florida residency, such as bank statement, utility bill, etc., is acceptable.
Medical Records & Current Medications
If you go to your appointment without medical records, your marijuana-certifying doctor will in most cases be able to request the records on your behalf from your primary care physician, but this will cause a delay in the process of obtaining the medical marijuana recommendation needed to get the card that will enable you to purchase cannabis legally. Getting your medical records is a simple and quick process, and it should not be difficult for you.
If you do not have a primary care doctor, are uninsured, have not had a check-up in a while, or cannot afford to see a physician, you are not necessarily out of options. Your medical marijuana doctor may be able to assist in finding an affordable clinic in your area that can give you an exam and diagnosis. In some cases, your marijuana doctor may be able to take you on as a new patient and provide a diagnosis for you. Remember to bring your medical records or prescription bottles to your medical marijuana evaluation appointment. These documents are necessary for you to receive a medical marijuana recommendation. ~ Know that the ordering doctor is required to determine that the risks of use are reasonable in respect to the benefits to the patient.
Will Insurance companies cover MMJ Medical Services in Florida?
Note that because medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law, your insurance, whatever it is, whether Medicare, Medicaid, “medigap,” or other private insurance will not cover the cost, nor can a doctor prescribe medical marijuana the way he/she prescribes such prescriptions as pain meds and other pharmaceuticals. What your doctor can do, however, is recommend or issue written certifications.