Read frequently asked questions about medical cannabis and how to become a patient.
Low-THC cannabis is defined as containing 0.8 percent or less of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol (CBD). Low-THC cannabis typically does not produce the euphoria (high) often associated with medical cannabis.
There is no restriction on the amount of THC in medical cannabis. In Florida, medical cannabis is currently only available for patients with a terminal condition at end of life, who have less than 12 months to live.
Patients suffering from cancer, or from a physical medical condition that chronically produces seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms, could be eligible for non-euphoric, low-THC cannabis.
A qualified physician can only order medical cannabis for a patient with a terminal condition that is attested to by the patient’s physician, and confirmed by a second independent evaluation by a board-certified physician in an appropriate specialty for that condition.
Florida law defines a terminal condition as a “progressive disease or medical or surgical condition that causes significant functional impairment, is not considered by a treating physician to be reversible even with the administration of available treatment options currently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, and, without the administration of life-sustaining procedures, will result in death within one year after diagnosis if the condition runs its normal course.”
Qualifying physicians can only order a 45-day supply and a cannabis delivery device for the medical use of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis.
Schedule an appointment at A Green Relief with a physician who has completed the training required for ordering medical cannabis for patients, and who will work with your current doctors to evaluate your condition and the treatments you have been receiving. You must be a permanent resident of Florida, diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition, and a patient of the same qualified physician for the immediate preceding 3 months in order to be considered for treatment. Your doctor will enter your personal information and dosage recommendation into the Florida Compassionate Use Registry, where it will be saved and stored for the duration of your treatment.
Once your doctor has registered you with the Florida Office of Compassionate Use, you can apply for a medical marijuana card. This is a photo ID that must be presented by the patient or the patient’s legal health care representative when receiving a medical marijuana product. Once you have filled out the application on the Office of Compassionate Use website, it will be reviewed and, if approved, a medical marijuana card will be sent to you through the mail. Medical marijuana cards expire after one year and must be renewed. It is recommended that you apply for the renewal 45 days before your card expires.
Note: Recent advertising promising a medical marijuana card for a fee are a scam. You can only receive a card by going through the registration process with a qualified physician and then applying online.
The Office of Compassionate Use is charged with implementing the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014, and Amendment 2. The list of doctors permitted to order medical cannabis products for patients can be found on the Office of Compassionate Use website. The office maintains records of medical marijuana patients on the Florida Compassionate Use Registry and issues medical marijuana cards.
Under Florida law, to receive low-THC cannabis products, a patient must be diagnosed with cancer, epilepsy, chronic seizures, or muscle spasms. Qualified patients may obtain low-THC cannabis oil and derivative products by first obtaining an order from an approved physician who meets the requirements outlined above. That order is then filled through one of the state’s approved dispensing organizations.
In June of 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed State Bill 1030 “The Compassionate Care Act,” which regulated the use of low-THC/high CBD cannabis for people suffering from cancer, seizures, or muscle spasms.
In March of 2016, the Florida Legislature passed State Bill 307, which expanded the qualified uses for medicinal cannabis. Doctors now can prescribe full-strength medical cannabis, but only for people suffering from a terminal illness who were determined by two doctors to have less than a year to live.
In November of 2016, Florida voters passed Amendment 2 to legalize full-strength medicinal cannabis. The State is still creating the rules necessary to implement the amendment.
Smoking marijuana is illegal in the state of Florida, as is the manufacture and consumption of edibles (candy and other food products containing marijuana). Medical marijuana cannot be sold as raw plant material. It must be extracted as an oil or tincture. Common marijuana delivery devices include vaporizers, and cartridge pen devices that deliver a carefully measured dose to be inhaled. The oil can also be placed under the tongue, or applied to the skin as an ointment.
You should talk to both your physician and the human resources officer at your workplace to determine how a medical cannabis order would affect your continuing employment. Some employers may be willing to make exceptions for employees who fall under state requirements for a medical cannabis order.
At this time, it is unclear what legal recourse a patient has when an employer refuses an exemption request or terminates them for testing positive for THC. Florida state law allows “at-will” employees to be terminated for testing positive for substances listed on the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Federal Drug Schedules. However, state law does protect employees from termination for issues relating to health and medical conditions.
The state of Florida has issued licenses to six providers of medical marijuana. Once your doctor has registered you with the Office of Compassionate Use, and entered a recommended dosage, you can contact one of these providers to place an order. The medical marijuana order can be delivered to your home, or picked up at the provider’s dispensary. You will need a medical marijuana card to claim your order.
No. Your doctor will enter an order through the Office of Compassionate Use website, and the provider will look up the order when you contact them. The doctor might provide a print out of the order for your reference, but it is not a prescription.
Contact your health insurance provider to ask whether your policy covers treatment with medical marijuana and consultations with a qualified physician.