Do you live in Florida? Are you Interested in using marijuana as medicine, but don’t know where to begin?
That’s OK, it’s the reason I created a detailed breakdown of Florida’s medical marijuana industry, where we will cover everything you need, to obtain medical cannabis today.
The first time Florida lawmakers officially recognized marijuana as medicine, was in 2014 with Charlotte’s Web Medical Marijuana Bill. The legislation allowed for very limited access, to low THC cannabis, to treat debilitating and terminal illness. The bill had very narrow views on who actually qualified for treatments and required you be diagnosed with Cancer, Epilepsy, AIDS and a few similar illnesses.
There were only a couple marijuana dispensaries approved to grow the Charlotte’s Web Strain, which was a high Cannabinoid (CBD) and very low THC content marijuana. The plants had to be processed into oil, since you were not allowed to smoke the flower. Although some did benefit from the law, most were turned away, because they did not meet the stringent qualifications.
Other states like Colorado would go full recreational, after experiencing a successful medical marijuana industry, treating patients who needed relief from terrible illness.
Colorado’s “green boom” has boosted its economy, created thousands of jobs and made huge advancements in cannabis research. Not to mention the hundreds of millions in tax revenue paid by the state, to the federal government and still nothing new for Florida.
With many other states also legalizing marijuana either recreational, or medical, it seemed that cannabis was sweeping the nation and in fact the world. Thus began the movement to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, under expanded qualifications and guidelines.
And Amendment 2 was born, sponsored by some high profile cannabis support groups like United for Care who is the primary sponsor.
Well known Orlando attorney John Morgan financially supported the movement and began a campaign for legalization.
They needed over 682,000 signatures to get Amendment 2 on the ballot for voters in November 2016 and they ended up with 716,270 in total.
Floridians approved Amendment 2 by a landslide 72% which spoke volume to conservative lawmakers in Tallahassee, who had been largely opposed to MMJ in Florida from the start.
Amendment 2 gives state certified medical marijuana doctors and patients the ability to treat debilitating illness with cannabis. It gave access to many more people suffering, with expanded qualifications such as PTSD, Seizures, Chronic Pain, Insomnia, or any other illness in the same category.
Amendment 2 language also allows a doctor to recommend MMJ for other symptoms and illness they feel cannabis will successfully treat.
Amendment 2 also creates The Office Of Medical Marijuana Use in Florida. This department is responsible for overseing licensing for doctors and patients, plus it regulates the marijuana dispensaries throughout the state as well. This office was formerly known as the Compassionate Use Department, but changed with current legislation.
In order for a qualifyed patient to obtain medical marijuana in Florida, The OMMU must approve your file. This means you better have everything done prefectly, or they will not approve you.
1st Mail a check or money order for the yearly registration fee of $75.00
2nd Up-load or mail in your proof of residency. The only acceptable forms are drivers license or approved ulitity bill, like electric or water, showing that you reside in Florida, as a resident.
3rd The Office Of Medical Marijuana Use will mail your ID card, so they need a 2inch x 2inch face photo. It is better to get a passport style photo, like you can get at walgreens, or CVS. This way you will be compliant with your picture and not get denied your marijuana card.
The amendment also expands the number of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
(Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers) that could now be licensed to sell cannabis to approved patients.
Opposition in the Senate quickly argued that marijuana Flower should not be allowed and fought issues like how many licenses to issue for dispensaries and how to qualify patients. It took a special session in June 2016 for state legislators to finally agree on implementation of Amendment 2 into law.
The law favored a linear system of managing marijuana in Florida and requires a state licensed dispensary (MMTC) to cultivate, manufacture and sell their line of marijuana products, allowed under the law.
A total of 12 dispensary/grower licenses will be issued to approved nurseries and businesses. Each license will allow for up to 25 satellite locations throughout Florida, giving the state 250 dispensary locations for patients to choose from.
3 Boys Farm
Grow Healthy Nursery
The Green Solution
Sunbulb Company Inc
Keith St Germain Nursury Farms
Plants Of Ruskin, Inc
Vape oil extracts
No Smoking flower, also known as buds in Florida for 2016-2017
Some challenges to Floridians seeking treatment
In November 2017 the Office Of Medical Marijuana Use, charged with overseeing doctors and patient licensing, is behind several months in approving new applicants.
Florida state law and Federal laws on marijuana are now in conflict. The government still has old marijuana legislation which categorizes cannabis as a schedule 1 drug. Stating that marijuana has no medical benefits at all and is an illicit narcotic like heroin, or cocaine which share this classification.
2018 is looking different for Florida Marijuana patients and businesses, since another movement has begun.
The Florida Cannabis Act, to legalize marijuana in the sunshine state for recreational use. There is a new petition being signed to have it on the ballot in Nov 2018.
The new law would allow adults 21 and older the ability to buy full strength marijuana from pot shops throughout Florida, much like Colorado. It calls for separate licenses to grow, cultivate and sell cannabis, making the average person able to access it, without government approval and red tape.
So far the petition is gaining movement among patients fed up with the states regulations and smoking ban. Only time will tell if Florida gets recreational marijuana laws on the books.