Medical marijuana in Florida has increased exponentially since passing in 2016. Currently, as of September 2020, there are over 2,600 qualified physicians in the state who are able to give recommendations for medical cannabis. In just 6 months, doctors wrote more than 1 million orders certifying medical marijuana for over 230,000 people. In total, the FL medical marijuana system has over 400,000 patients as of 2020! What started out as an extremely strict framework for qualifying conditions has evolved, realizing that medical cannabis is valuable for a much wider range of conditions than initially allowed.

In March of 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that allowed smokable marijuana in Florida’s dispensaries, which has furthered progressed the program. In the summer of 2020, the program has further expanded to cover edibles which look to be another boost to the industry. 

With the Florida Medical system continuing to expand, many people who had been waiting to see how it unfolded are now interested in legally using cannabis as medicine. But, this comes with so many questions that Red Eye Chronicle is here to answer.

Am I eligible for medical marijuana in FL?

To be eligible for medical cannabis, you need to have a qualifying condition from the following list: 

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to the above conditions.
  • A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification.
  • Chronic nonmalignant pain caused by a qualifying medical condition or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of that qualifying medical condition.

But the interpretation of “medical conditions of the same kind, or class” and “chronic nonmalignant pain…”  allow a broader set of ailments to be covered under FL’s Amendment 2. In 2020, if your doctor deems you are suffering from a debilitating condition, they can recommend cannabis. As of late 2020, the FL Department of Health has not called into question any of the prescriptions written to over 400,000 Floridians.

Some of the conditions we’ve seen patients get doctor’s recommendations for cannabis include:

  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Back Pain
  • Cachexia
  • Diabetes
  • Hepatitis C
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Lyme Disease
  • Migraine
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Severe & Chronic Pain
  • Severe Nausea
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Spasticity

Do I need a doctor’s recommendation?

Yes, you’ll need a qualified doctor to recommend medical cannabis, in FL these are referred to as “orders.” There are over 2,000 qualified physicians in the state of FL able to recommend cannabis to patients. The doctor will need to assess your condition or review any previous medical documentation. After the decision has been made, the physician will be able to recommend up 2.5oz of cannabis per cycle (35 days). They also will need to recommend the forms of cannabis included such as concentrates, flower, or edibles.

How to obtain a medical marijuana license:

After receiving your doctor’s orders you will be eligible to register for a medical marijuana license card. This is the actual license that will give you access to purchasing cannabis in dispensaries.

How long are the orders and licenses good for?

The doctor’s recommendations are good for 210 days and will need to be renewed with the physician at that point. The medical marijuana card is good for 1 year. As you may be able to tell Florida’s medical marijuana system is set up to favor the doctors and cannabis producers and not necessarily the patients. The costs associated with doctor visits, renewals, and everything drives up the cost of care to patients.

How much does it cost for a visit with a doctor?

This can vary greatly depending on your area. It’s pretty common for visits to cost $100-200 per initial visit and subsequent renewal visits. At Red Eye Chronicle, we do our best to keep up to date on the prices of all the providers in the state and will be creating a database of those costs so that our readers are armed with the most information.

How do I renew my medical marijuana card?

To renew your medical marijuana card license, you will need a current set of orders from your doctor. For example, if you get doctor’s orders and license, then 210 days later you renewed with your doctor, you will use those orders to renew your license in 155 days. In that scenario, you will need another doctor renewal 55 days later.

Where can I find a dispensary?

Florida has a vertical integration system where the dispensaries are complete producers end to end for cannabis. The major dispensaries/producers in the state are as follows:

  • Trulieve
  • Surterra
  • MüV
  • Curaleaf
  • Harvest
  • MedMen
  • Liberty
  • GrowHealthy
  • VidaCann
  • Columbia Care
  • RiSE

Which dispensary is best will be dependent on where you live. 50% of the dispensaries in FL are Trulieve location, so most likely you’ll be able to find one of their locations close by. At REC, we have in our plans to review all the dispensaries from service to product quality. We hope you’ll come back and look for those updates.

How much does weed cost in FL?

At Red Eye Chronicle, we are continually working to keep a database of all publicly available pricing for FL medical cannabis. We are working diligently to put this resource together and will link it as soon as we have it ready. We appreciate every one helping to make this project a valuable resource.