How Do I Gain Access to Dispensaries?

If you are planning to purchase medical cannabis from a Florida Dispensary, there is a formal and pre-defined process which need to be fulfilled before making any medical marijuana purchase. If you are aware of all the required formalities, it is great. In case, you don’t know about them, the following article would walk you through the entire process of getting a medical marijuana card enabling you to make cannabis purchases.
Before talking about the required formalities, a brief overview of the medical marijuana legalization in the state would enable you better understand the legal nuances involved in the purchase of medical marijuana in the state of Florida.

Legalization of cannabis in Florida

Florida’s legislature legalized marijuana back in 2014 by passing the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. The law permits seriously ill patients to consume low THC cannabis to address their symptoms. The state’s medical program was managed by the Office of Compassionate Use (OCU) under the auspices of Florida Department of Health (DOH).

Later on, in 2016 Florida’s voters approved Florida Medical Marijuana Initiative also is known as Amendment 2. Amendment 2 extended the list of qualifying conditions and allowed broader legalization of medical marijuana. The amendment also provided to change OCU to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (MMU) and stressed the establishment of Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC). In 2019, yet another amendment SB182 by repealing a ban on smoking marijuana allowed physicians to recommend smoking to qualified patients.

Regulatory authority

The regulation authority in Florida responsible to regulate the state’s medical cannabis program is the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (MMU) established under the state’s Department of Health. The MMU is responsible for issuing medical marijuana cards to qualifying patients.

Medical marijuana card

Patients should visit or call one of the following locations to get a Medical Marijuana Card:
Miracle Leaf of Pembroke Pines
12510 Pines Blvd
Pembroke Pines FL 33027

Miracle Leaf of West Palm Beach (located 1 block from the South Florida Fairgrounds)
100 Sansburys Way, Ste 110
West Palm Beach, FL 33411
The patients required a medical marijuana card before making a purchase. These cards formally known as Medical Marijuana Registry Identification cards help marijuana patients get their approved orders of the drug. The cards not only assist verification of the patients at the time of purchase, but they can also be required by the law enforcement agencies at any appropriate time.
The medical marijuana cards are valid for one year from the date of approval. The patients are required to fill out the application for renewal of the card and send it through mail 45 days prior to the date of expiry.
To get a medical marijuana card, prospective patients need to meet following qualifying conditions.

Qualifying conditions

A patient needs to be diagnosed with at least one of the following conditions in order to qualify for the medical marijuana card.
• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
• Cancer
• Crohn’s disease
• Epilepsy
• Glaucoma
• Multiple sclerosis (MS)
• Parkinson’s disease
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
• 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
• Medical conditions comparable to those above. Please call 954-613-8112 (Broward) or 561-234-4460 (Palm Beach County) to learn about other comparable conditions to qualify for a medical marijuana card.

Apart from having one of the approved medical conditions, the patients need to meet following additional requirements to become eligible to obtain medical marijuana.

All prospective patients need to be residents of Florida and must be 18 years old. A minor younger than 18 years can designate a caregiver or a legal representative to obtain marijuana. Seasonal residents fulfilling certain conditions may also qualify as medical marijuana patients under the state’s law. All such individuals who have lived at least 31 consecutive days in a year in Florida and maintain a temporary residence in the state are eligible to apply for the medical marijuana card.

Patient registry process

To begin with the registry process, the patients need to see a qualified marijuana doctor who would assess if prospective patients are suffering from one of the approved medical conditions. The marijuana physician determines a patient’s eligibility by assessing if his/her condition falls within the list of legally approved conditions.
The list of qualifying marijuana physicians can be found on OMMU’s website or from a PDF list of physicians. The physician enters the eligible patients’ information and email it to the MMUR and approve a medical marijuana order.
In response, OMMU will send patients an email giving them directions for the MMUR identification card process. By paying a $75 fee, the patients can make ID application electronically on the MMUR registry or via email.
The patients whose applications are approved are notified via an email.
The patients can order from an approved and licensed MMTC using the approval email until the ID card is mailed.

The medical marijuana card is valid for one year and can be renewed by making an application 45 days prior to the expiry date. For more information about renewals and processing patients can call the OMMU at (800) 808-9580.
For people who want to designate a caregiver to purchase cannabis on their behalf can do so by applying to MMUR.

Caregiver qualifications

Patients can designate a caregiver by applying to MMUR. The caregivers can purchase cannabis on behalf of patients with a valid medical marijuana card and help them with the administration of their drug.
There are certain conditions that have been set out for the qualification of caregivers. They must be at least 21 years of age. The caregivers must not be a qualifying physician or an individual with a financial interest in MMTC. The patients can designate one caregiver at one time. The patients younger than 18 years can designate an adult caregiver or another legal representative to help them use medical cannabis.

Caregiver registry process

The patients can designate a caregiver in their application for the medical marijuana card. The caregiver will receive an email from OMMU with directions for the medical marijuana card and application process. By making a deposit of $75, the caregiver can apply electronically on the MMUR registry or alternatively they can send their application via mail.
The caregiver will get notification about the outcome of their application via an email.
Using the approval email until the card is mailed to them, the caregivers can order cannabis from an approved and licensed MMTC.
The caregiver cards are valid for one year and can be renewed by making an application 45 days prior to the expiry date.

Marijuana doctors

The entire process to purchase medical marijuana is pre-defined and formal. There are certain requirements for the physicians and only after fulfilling those requirements they are authorized to provide physician certifications and add qualifying patients to MMUR.

As part of their qualification, physicians in good licensed standing are required to take the 2-hour course through the Florida Medical Association or the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association. Each time physicians go for renewal of their license; they are required to retake this course. In addition, qualified doctors should not have a direct or indirect financial interest in an MMTC or lab testing facility.
The physicians are required to conduct a full, in-person examination of the patients and assess their medical history. Based on this assessment, the physician is required to enter the patients’ information into the MMUR. Where physicians supply information about patients’ qualifying condition, daily required dosage of medical marijuana, and medical cannabis delivery devices required for cannabis administration.
Physicians are not allowed to certify more than six, 35-day supplies of smokable marijuana for a single patient. A patient may request a DOH- authorized exception to this rule.

Final words

Florida has legalized medical cannabis in 2014 but obtaining it is somewhat a complex process. The Office of Medical Marijuana Use (MMU) is regulatory authority responsible to manage state’s medical cannabis program. There is a pre-defined and formal process to apply for and obtain medical marijuana card.
Anyone looking to address his/her medical condition using cannabis needs to follow the process specified by the MMU. Keep in mind, it is a time intensive process that involves input from different stakeholders. You need to have an approval email or medical marijuana card before walking into a cannabis dispensary in Florida.
For clarity of information written, please contact one of our locations below:

Broward County Medical Marijuana Doctor – Pembroke Pines

Miracle Leaf of Pembroke Pines
12510 Pines Blvd
Pembroke Pines FL 33027

Palm Beach County Medical Marijuana Doctor – West Palm Beach

Miracle Leaf of West Palm Beach (located 1 block from the South Florida Fairgrounds)
100 Sansburys Way, Ste 110
West Palm Beach, FL 33411