While recreational marijuana remains illegal in Florida, residents with approved medical conditions have been able to lawfully purchase medical weed from dispensaries across the state in the form of flower, baked goods, lotions — you name it — for four years. To be eligible for a medical marijuana card in Florida, you must be at least 18 years old, a permanent or seasonal resident, and be diagnosed with a qualifying health condition by a licensed doctor.
Although the process is straightforward, getting a medical marijuana card requires a few bureaucratic hoops and can be a bit daunting for newcomers.
If you're ready to join the more than 800,000 medical marijuana cardholders across Florida, here's a step-by-step guide on how to get started:
Step 1: Find a DoctorFirst things first, you must be evaluated by a licensed doctor and diagnosed with one of the qualifying health conditions listed by Florida, which range from epilepsy to HIV/AIDS to post-traumatic stress disorder. The law gives doctors some leeway, allowing them to prescribe cannabis for "medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to the others listed."
The state also keeps a handy database of more than 2,500 qualified medical marijuana physicians here.
Step 2: Log in to State RegistryIf the physician authorizes a prescription, the doctor's office will enter you into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry, an online database where patients apply for or renew their medical marijuana cards.
You'll then receive a username and temporary password via email from the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU), which is overseen by the Florida Department of Health.
Step 3: Apply for IDOn the registry, you'll need to apply for your medical card by submitting an application to the Florida Department of Health along with $75. Staff at your physician's office can help you through the process.
Here's a short guide on how to apply for the ID through the registry. (Pro tip: If possible, upload your driver's license info from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to speed things up.)
Once your application is approved, you'll receive the card via mail. It looks like this:
Step 4: Find a Dispensary
Voilà! ID in hand, you can start purchasing medical marijuana from one of the hundreds of licensed dispensaries across Florida. Here's a list of cannabis providers to get started.
If you want to buy marijuana before your card arrives in the mail, dispensaries will typically allow your card-approval email from the state to be temporarily used for purchases.
As a reminder, you'll need to renew your medical certification with your physician every seven months and your medical card annually.