Legally Buy Florida Medical Marijuana| 0
Florida Medical Marijuana Is Here
Last year, the Florida Legislature passed the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014.” This Act, found at Florida Statute section 381.986), was the first to allow for the legal use of medical marijuana in certain circumstances, provides that certain patients afflicted with a very narrow set of medical conditions can legally use low–THC marijuana in this state. (Low-THC marijuana is largely devoid of the active component in marijuana that makes people “high” and, therefore, is use is thought to be subject to less abuse accordingly.) The Act was originally passed so that children, for example, suffering from certain seizure disorders could legally obtain and use certain low-THC marijuana (or cannabis) strains, such as Charlotte’s Web, that had been proven to improve their quality of life.
The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act was amended in 2016 and retitled as the “Compassionate Use of Low-THC and Medical Cannabis” Act to better describe that it also provides the Florida marijuana law that regulates the prescription and sale of even euphoric strains of marijuana now allowed under the “Right to Try” Act (which was recently amended in 2016 to allow the terminally ill to buy and use cannabis in Florida). The Right to Try Act is found at Florida Statute section 499.0295.
Current Florida Marijuana Laws Are Limited
However, for now, Florida marijuana laws the legal use of medical marijuana in Florida is limited to a very narrow set of circumstances. In order to qualify to be legally able to purchase and use low-THC marijuana in Florida under the Compassionate Use law, a patient must be suffering from cancer or a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures or severe muscle spasms and be examined by a doctor licensed to prescribe low-THC marijuana here.
Those Florida residents who are, unfortunately, terminally ill may be prescribed even euphoric strains of medical marijuana in Florida to help treat or ameliorate their condition.
Who Qualifies To Buy Legal Medical Marijuana In Florida And What Kind
Low-THC Cannabis in Florida
If a patient is suffering from one of the conditions described above, such as cancer or seizures, then a licensed Florida doctor who has taken specific training to be allowed to prescribe marijuana may order, for the patient’s medical use, low-THC marijuana to treat that disease or disorder, if no other satisfactory alternative treatment options exist for that paintent and all of the following conditions are met:
- the patient must be a permanent resident of Florida,
- a doctor must determine that the risks of ordering low–THC marijuana are reasonable in light of the potential benefits for the patient,
- the doctor registers as the orderer of the low-THC marijuana for that specific patient in the Compassionate Use Registry created by the State and updates the Registry to reflect the contents of the marijuana order,
- the doctor maintains a patient treatment plan that includes the does, route of administration, planned duration, and monitoring of the patient’s symptoms,
- the doctor submits the patient treatment plan to the University of Florida College of Pharmacy for research purposes,
- the doctor obtains the voluntary informed consent of the patient or applicable guardian.
Euphoric Strains of Medical Marijuana
Under Florida’s “Right to Try” Act, those Florida residents who are terminally-ill may be prescribed and use even euphoric strains of marijuana. The Right to Try Act defines a “terminal condition” to mean “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 1 year after diagnosis if the condition runs its normal course.”
Further, an “eligible patient” is defined as a person who:
- Has 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;
- Has considered all other treatment options for the terminal condition currently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration;
- Has given written informed consent for the use of an investigational drug, biological product, or device; and
- Has documentation from his or her treating physician that the patient meets the requirements of this paragraph.
How To Legally Buy Medical Marijuana in Florida
Once a patient has qualified either for the use of low-THC (under the Compassionate Use provisions) or regular medical marijuana (for the terminally-ill under the “Right to Try” Act) and has been examined by a doctor approved to prescribe the medical cannabis for that illness, the approved doctor would then enter the patient’s Florida marijuana prescription into Florida’s Compassionate Use Registry (also known as the Florida marijuana registry). That patient would then be able to legally purchase the medical marijuana from one of the 6 dispensaries recently licensed by the Florida Department of Health (after the patient’s doctor inputs the medical marijuana prescription into the Compassionate Use Registry). These 5 Florida dispensaries are dispersed regionally throughout the state. Here is more information on these approved Florida dispensaries: Northeast Region, Northwest Region, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, and Central Region. A sixth Florida dispensary, in Gainesville, was also recently approved for licensure by the Florida Department of Health after an administrative legal proceeding, but it is further behind in the cultivation process because it was approved so much later than the other Florida cannabis dispensaries.
Qualifying Florida Patients Should Be Able To Legally Buy Florida Medical Marijuana This Year
It is our current understanding that the 6 Florida dispensaries approved by the Florida Department of Health will begin or have begun growing the approved strains of low-THC marijuana and euphoric strains of medical marijuana prescribed for those terminally ill and it is now expected that qualifying patients will actually be able to legally by Florida marijuana later this year, perhaps by as early as July, 2016 (but Florida medical cannabis will more likely be available later, by September 2016). Keep in mind that once the United for Care Florida marijuana petition passes, the medical marijuana laws in Florida will be greatly expanded to include more conditions and, therefore, more Floridians will be able to legally buy Florida medical marijuana.
We here at the Florida Medical Marijuana Directory will continue to provide regular updates as Florida medical marijuana law changes.
As a reminder, please check out our sister site here to search an up-to-date list of doctors and dispensaries currently authorized to either prescribe or sell Florida marijuana.