Just the Facts: Medical Marijuana in Florida
Confusion abounds in Florida following the passing of Amendment 2, which legalized medicinal marijuana in the Sunshine State, and the subsequent Senate Bill 8A, which added more regulations. But make no mistake: Florida is far away from the *highs* being experienced in Colorado, where you can pick up some form of marijuana nearly as easily as you can a gallon of milk. So with that said, we here at Lowman Law Firm wanted to simply present you with the facts.
What kind of medicinal marijuana is available?
Currently, only extracts, oil, tinctures (a concentrated liquid form), and edibles are available medicinally in Florida. While other states offer smokable buds, the Florida Department of Health has not yet made a decision on making these available.
How do I get approved for medicinal marijuana?
Approval is limited to specific medical conditions, including ALS, (Lou Gehrig’s disease), anxiety, anorexia, arthritis, cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS). There is a caveat for less common conditions within the same class of diseases listed, as well as chronic nonmalignant pain.
Is there a waiting period?
No. Senate Bill 8A removed the 90-day wait that was initially required following the passing of Amendment 2.
How do I get a prescription for medicinal marijuana?
Medicinal marijuana is not prescribed, rather you get an approval from the doctor. So, make an appointment with a doctor who is state certified to recommend medicinal marijuana (click here for the list or you can call the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use at 850-245-4657). You must be able to show that you have one of the conditions listed in the approval section, that you’ve sought treatment for it in the past, and that those other treatments were not successful (this prevent individuals from suddenly claiming to have a condition like anxiety).
With the doctor’s approval, you’ll then send in your application and pay $75 to the Florida Department of Health to obtain your Compassionate Use Registry card that you must possess to purchase medicinal marijuana from a dispensary.
Where can I purchase medicinal marijuana?
Purchases must be made at state-approved dispensary. Your medicinal card does not allow you to purchase and possess marijuana from anyone else and you can be cited if you don’t have your proof of purchase from the dispensary on you.
Will my insurance pay for medicinal marijuana?
Because medicinal marijuana is based upon doctor recommendation and not prescription, health insurance will not cover any purchase; neither will Medicare or Medicaid. Some insurance companies will cover the doctor’s visits required in order to get approved, however others are denying the claims.
Can medicinal marijuana affect my federal benefits?
Despite legalization of medicinal marijuana in 29 states plus DC, it is still considered a Schedule I drug by the DEA and thus is illegal at the federal level. This leaves those applying for Social Security Disability benefits, military benefits, and others concerned. While it does have the potential to hurt your case, medical use of marijuana should have far less effect on your application than recreational use, especially if your attorney can show that you have a supportive doctor overseeing your treatment. Ultimately, it will be determined on a case-by-case basis until the DEA changes the drugs status to include its medicinal value.
Can I grow my own marijuana for medicinal purposes?
You can, but it’ll take a state license and about $50 million.
While the passing of Amendment 2 was a great start for those in pain who can greatly benefit from marijuana, many Floridians remain frustrated with what they see as a lack of action from the Department of Health. From the cost of obtaining the card and the delays in receiving it (sometimes months), to the price of the marijuana (higher than in other states) and the lack of availability, some still think we have a long way to go.