Are you a current medical marijuana patient in Florida? Are you thinking about acquiring a card? In any case, it’s critical that you keep up with Florida’s fast changing legal landscape: Is it permissible to consume medical marijuana at work? Is it true that different states accept Florida medical cards? As an employee, what rights do you have? How about a trip? When are you at risk of being detained and where may you use your medicine?
CannaMD explains everything you need to know about marijuana. (And don’t worry if you need your card at the end — we’ve got you covered there, too!)
So take a seat, unwind, and grab your notebook. The lessons you’ll learn today will stick with you for a long time!
In Florida, what law made medical marijuana legal?
SHORT ANSWER: The Florida Medicinal Marijuana Legalization Initiative (also known as Amendment 2) legalized medical marijuana therapy in the state of Florida in November 2016.
MORE DETAILS: When Governor Rick Scott signed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 on June 16, 2014, Florida became the 22nd state to authorize (at least partial) access to medical marijuana. Patients with cancer, epilepsy, chronic seizures, or muscle spasms may benefit from low-THC cannabis products prescribed by a registered physician. Doctors and patients had to register on the Florida Department of Health’s Compassionate Use Registry, an online database. Senate Bill 1700, which protects the privacy of doctors who recommend low-THC marijuana and their patients, was also signed by the governor.
In November 2014, the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, Amendment 2 was put on the ballot, however, it fell short of the requisite 60 percent majority of votes. The public perception of medical marijuana has shifted as a result of the publicity surrounding this setback.
In March of 2016, State Bill 307 increased access to full-strength medicinal marijuana to terminally ill patients with less than a year to live, as determined by two doctors.
The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative was approved by 71 percent of Florida voters in November 2016. (perhaps confusingly: also known as Amendment 2).
Senate Bill 8A, the Medical Use of Marijuana Act, was passed in a special legislative session in June 2017 to establish standards for making medical marijuana available to Floridians. To carry out these regulations, the Florida Department of Health formed the Office of Medical Marijuana Use and renamed the Compassionate Use Registry the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.
What is the legal definition of medical marijuana in Florida?
SHORT ANSWER: Medical marijuana in Florida is defined as cannabis products acquired by a qualified patient from a licensed best online weed dispensary.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Medical marijuana, according to Senate Bill 8A, is defined as:
Every chemical, manufacturing, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds, or resin, including low-THC cannabis, that is dispensed through a medical marijuana treatment center for medical use by a qualified patient.
You must also be familiar with two other legal definitions in order to completely comprehend this definition:
- Qualified patient at a medical marijuana treatment clinic
Senate Bill 8A defines medical marijuana treatment centers (also referred to as dispensaries or MMTCs) as state-licensed medical marijuana centers that “ensure reasonable statewide accessibility and availability as necessary for qualified patients registered in the medical marijuana use registry and who are issued a physician certification.”
Translation? The only sites where patients can lawfully get medical marijuana in Florida are MMTCs. Even if you have a Florida medical card, if you buy marijuana from someone else, it isn’t deemed “medical marijuana,” and you could face arrest and/or penalties.
More information about qualifying patients can be found further down.
(Are you looking for a dispensary in Florida? CannaMD is a comprehensive directory of medical marijuana treatment centers.
What is the legal distinction between cannabis and cannabis with a low THC content?
SHORT ANSWER: According to Florida legislation, low-THC cannabis contains no more than 8% THC and more than 10% CBD. Cannabinoid limitations and/or ratios do not apply to regular cannabis.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Low-THC cannabis is defined as follows by Senate Bill 8A:
The dried flowers of Cannabis plants contain less than.8% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and more than 10% cannabidiol (CBD) weight for weight.
Regular marijuana does not required to meet the same standards.
What kind of people are qualified for medical marijuana?
SHORT ANSWER: Florida residents, including full-time and seasonal, who have a qualifying medical condition.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A qualified patient is defined by Senate Bill 8A as follows:
A resident of this state [Florida] who has been added to the medical marijuana use registry by a qualified physician and who possesses a qualified patient identification card to obtain marijuana or a marijuana delivery device for medical purposes.
In order to be eligible for medicinal marijuana in Florida, a patient must meet the following criteria:
- Be diagnosed with a qualifying ailment by a licensed physician.
- Have a Florida residency, either permanent or temporary.
The following conditions, as defined by Amendment 2, are eligible for medicinal marijuana treatment in Florida:
- ALS \sCancer
- Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects
- Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects people.
Senate Bill 8A allows for the treatment of other “diagnosable, debilitating conditions of like, kind, or class” (such as anxiety, depression, and migraines), as well as terminal conditions (diagnosed by a physician other than the physician issuing certification) and chronic nonmalignant pain, in addition to the qualifying conditions listed above (defined as pain caused by a qualifying medical condition that persists beyond the usual course of that condition).
Please read CannaMD’s Qualifying Ailments Resource Page for a complete list of conditions that may qualify.
While Florida residents must give a copy of their driver’s license or other state-issued form of identification to verify residency, seasonal residents may submit a copy of two of the following documents to demonstrate residency:
- A deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, mortgage payment booklet, or a home rental or lease agreement are all examples of legal documents.
- One evidence of residence address from the seasonal resident’s parent, step-parent, legal guardian, or other person with whom the seasonal resident dwells, as well as a declaration from that person saying that the seasonal resident does reside with him or her.
- A utility hookup or work order dated within 60 days of medical use registry registration
a recent utility bill (no older than 2 months)
- Not more than 2 months old mail from a financial institution, including checking, savings, or investment account statements
- Not more than 2 months old mail from a federal, state, county, or municipal government entity
- Any other paperwork that satisfies the department’s requirements for evidence of residence.
- More information about the residence requirements can be found here.
Can out-of-state patients get medical marijuana in Florida?
QUICK RESPONSE: YES! They only need to stay in Florida for at least 31 days in a calendar year and keep a temporary address.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Individuals who satisfy the category of seasonal residents may be eligible for medicinal marijuana therapy, according to Senate Bill 8A:
Any person who temporarily resides in this state [Florida] for at least 31 days in each calendar year, maintains a temporary residence in this state, returns to the state or jurisdiction of his or her residence at least once during each calendar year, and is registered to vote or pays income tax in another state or jurisdiction is referred to as a “seasonal resident.”
See Florida Snowbirds Can Use Medical Marijuana for more information.
In Florida, how do you qualify for medical marijuana?
CannaMD makes it simple to qualify for medical marijuana.
To obtain a medical marijuana card, you must first see a licensed physician who can analyze your medical marijuana needs and submit a referral to the state on your behalf. That’s where we can help!
You will meet with one of our trained physicians during your consultation at CannaMD to determine your eligibility for medical marijuana. Your first consultation will address your medical cannabis orders as well as the state-mandated recommendation for the maximum amount of time allowed by law: 210 days.
Patients must bring confirmation of diagnosis for their current medical condition to this appointment (s). A progress note or physician-signed acknowledgment (as long as it includes your doctor’s name, signature, and your diagnosed ailment) is great documentation.
Once we’ve determined that you’re eligible for medical marijuana, we’ll submit a recommendation to the Florida Department of Health, alerting them to the fact that you need treatment. The Florida Department of Health will send you an email requesting that you create an online account within a few days of your consultation. The creation of an account allows the state to verify your residency and is the final step in the application process for a medical marijuana card.
You’ll get your medical marijuana card after you finish setting up your account and pay the $75 state fee!
Is it legal in Florida to have medical marijuana telehealth (remote) appointments?
QUICK ANSWER: No, not right now.
MORE DETAILS: While medical marijuana doctors cannot currently conduct telemedicine sessions, they were allowed to do so briefly during the coronavirus outbreak. Medical cannabis physicians were temporarily allowed to conduct telehealth (remote) appointments for “existing qualified patients with an existing certification that was issued by that qualified physician,” according to a Department of Health Emergency Order issued March 16, 2020 by State Surgeon General, Dr. Scott A. Rivkees, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
Dr. Rivkees extended telehealth provisions through Emergency Order 20-011 as long as Florida’s State of Emergency (approved by Executive Order 20-52) was maintained.
The authorisation has also expired at this time.
See Coronavirus Policies for additional information on CannaMD’s COVID-19 safety procedures.
Patients in Florida can buy medical marijuana from a variety of locations.
SHORT ANSWER: Medical marijuana can only be purchased from a licensed dispensary in Florida.
MORE DETAILS: In Florida, marijuana is only classified as “medical” if it is obtained by a qualified patient from a certified medical marijuana treatment center.
Florida Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers has a searchable map of all Florida dispensaries.
What are the legal prerequisites for becoming a medical marijuana doctor in Florida?
SHORT ANSWER: Florida physicians must have an active, unrestricted license as either an allopathic or osteopathic physician, as well as complete an annual course and exam, in order to prescribe medicinal marijuana.
MORE DETAILS: As medical marijuana doctors, we know how simple this one is!
All CannaMD doctors have an active, unrestricted licensure as an allopathic or osteopathic physician and have completed all state-mandated education requirements, according to state law. At current moment, educational qualifications include passing either the Florida Medical Association or the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association’s yearly course and exam.
CannaMD physicians are not employed by, or have any direct or indirect commercial interest in, any medical marijuana treatment institutions or marijuana testing laboratories, as required by Senate Bill 8A.
Visit Meet Our Doctors to discover more about the CannaMD team.
Is it true that medical marijuana records are kept private?
QUICK RESPONSE: Yes.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The Medical Marijuana Use Registry is overseen by the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU). Your doctor will use this secure, online registration to tell the state that you are eligible for medical marijuana. The following information will be added into the registry once you meet with a doctor:
Your qualifying circumstance
The amount of medicinal marijuana that has been approved, as well as the ways via which it can be obtained.
After you’ve entered all of your information, it will be reviewed and you’ll be given your medical marijuana card. If your treatment or eligibility changes over the year, we must update your record on the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.
Only the following people will have access to your medical marijuana records once you begin treatment:
Law enforcement personnel from the Florida Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC)
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) will preserve this information, ensuring that no one else has access to your medical records. However, as part of their job as a business associate, billing businesses and other entities that interact directly with your medical marijuana facility may have access to your information. Because these businesses are still governed by HIPAA, you may rest assured that your personal information will be kept safe.
Some patients prefer to choose a personal representative, giving that individual legal authority to examine their medical information and make health-care choices on their behalf. It’s usually a spouse, child, or other family member who can be trusted with sensitive information. This is the only method that someone else can view your medical marijuana records unless there is a medical emergency.
Note that while MMTC employees and law enforcement officers have access to your demographic information, administration route(s), and permitted milligrams, they do not have access to your qualifying diagnosis or any other medical information.
Importantly, the Department of Health only grants access to confidential and exempt information in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry to law enforcement agencies investigating a marijuana law violation in which the subject of the investigation claims a medical marijuana exception, as per Florida Statute 381.987.
Is the Medical Marijuana Use Registry accessible to Florida cops?
SHORT ANSWER: Yes, but only in defense of an investigation claim (for example, if a police officer discovers your medical marijuana goods and you claim possession is legal since you’re a medical marijuana patient).
MORE DETAILS: According to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, authorities can only access the registry if they’re investigating a marijuana-related crime for which the suspect claims an exemption (the exception being that the individual is a registered medical marijuana patient):
According to s. 381.987, F.S., the department grants law enforcement agencies access to confidential and exempt information in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry if they are investigating a marijuana-related crime and the subject of the investigation claims an exception established under s. 381.986, F.S.
This basically means that the police can only check the Medical Marijuana Use Registry to see if you’re a registered patient after you’ve filed a claim.
Do patients who use medical marijuana in Florida qualify for a concealed handgun permit?
QUICK RESPONSE: YES!
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: CannaMD spoke with Nicole “Nikki” Fried, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to get the answers to all of your concealed carry inquiries.
See Florida Firearms & Medical Marijuana for the complete interview.
Is it legal for patients to drive while using medical marijuana?
QUICK ANSWER: Yes, but only if the products are still in their original packaging. It is completely forbidden to use in a car. Patients are not permitted to travel across state lines when using medical marijuana.
MORE DETAILS: If you are a Florida medical marijuana patient, you are permitted to drive inside the state of Florida with medical marijuana products in your possession, as long as the items are safely secured in their original packaging. This implies that whether you’re driving home from a medical marijuana retailer or need to transport your medication somewhere, you can do so lawfully.
In your vehicle, however, you are not permitted to consume or dispense medicinal marijuana products. It is against the law to drive while under the influence of marijuana, therefore utilizing medical marijuana products in the car would be a violation of this prohibition. According to Florida law, there are further additional limits on the use and transportation of medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana use and/or administration is completely forbidden on any kind of public transportation,* including a school bus, a vehicle, an aircraft, or a motorboat, according to Senate Bill 8A.
Low-THC cannabis is allowed in the categories marked with an asterisk (*).
Even though medical marijuana is allowed in Florida, the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule I substance. Marijuana possession is unlawful under federal law due to its Schedule I classification. This means that bringing medicinal marijuana into another state is unlawful, even if the state has legalized the medication.
The practical risk of traveling between jurisdictions with medical marijuana is described by Allison Malsbury of Canna Law Group:
From a legal standpoint, it’s a no-brainer. However, in practice, it is extremely confusing. In practice, the chances of federal agents or the DEA stationed at the border waiting to apprehend someone are little to none. It is not feasible nor worthwhile of their time.
Patients, however, should remember what Americans for Safe Access reminds them:
The finest contact with law enforcement is the one that never happens.
See Can I Use My Medical Marijuana in States Where It Isn’t Legal? for additional information.
Can people with medical marijuana cards in Florida utilize them in other states?
SHORT ANSWER: Generally, no, although there are a few exceptions: Yes.
MORE DETAILS: While marijuana’s Schedule I classification prevents it from being transported over state boundaries, it is often permitted once it has been used in another state. For example, a handful of states have legalized recreational marijuana, which allows patients to avoid travel restrictions.
Note that this does not imply that patients can shop at medical dispensaries (although a few states accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards).
See Can I Use My Florida Medical Marijuana Card in Other States? for a complete list of states that accept out-of-state medical cards (as well as those that allow recreational purchases).
When are police allowed to search your vehicle?
SHORT ANSWER: When police have reasonable cause to believe your car contains contraband or evidence of a crime, they may search it. They have the right to search any place or part of the country where such contraband or evidence may be found.
MORE DETAILS: If you’re driving while using medical marijuana, you should be aware of the rules that allow authorities to search your vehicle. These rights are outlined in the Florida Highway Patrol Policy Manual. Importantly, the Florida Constitution’s Article I, Section 12 protects people and places from unreasonable searches and seizures.
However, police officers have the right to search your vehicle if they have reasonable cause:
[Police] members may examine a vehicle in any location or part where contraband or evidence of a crime may be found if they have probable grounds to suspect it contains such contraband or evidence.
Probable cause, according to the policy manual, means:
Based on an impartial assessment of the totality of the circumstances, considered in light of the member’s training and experience, there is a good chance that the evidence will be found. It indicates that there is a reasonable basis for suspecting that a crime has been or is being committed, as well as demonstrating that the goods to be seized are present at the search location.
If marijuana items are in plain sight, a police officer may take action. According to the policy manual:
When a member sees evidence of a crime or contraband in plain view and is in a lawful presence, the evidence or contraband must be taken.
“Observation of evidence of a crime or contraband, without searching, from a location where the member has a lawful right to be” is defined as “observation of evidence of a crime or contraband, without searching, from a location where the member has a lawful right to be.”
If you give police officers permission, they can search your person or vehicle without probable cause or if you have marijuana in plain sight:
Members may also examine a person or a person’s property, including a car, if the individual orally authorizes the search. A person who consents to a search of a car or other property must either own the property or have sufficient control over it to permit the search, such as a vehicle driver. This agreement must be freely given.
A person can withdraw his or her agreement to a search of his or her person at any moment, and the search will end. Additionally, a person can withdraw his or her agreement to a search of his or her property, including a vehicle or any part thereof, at any time prior to establishing probable cause, and the search will end. Any evidence or contraband discovered prior to the withdrawal of consent will be kept.
It is necessary to seek explicit permission to examine a vehicle’s trunk or a lockable container.
See Driving with Medical Marijuana in Florida for more information, including data on K-9 searches.
Is it possible for people to fly while using medical marijuana?
SHORT ANSWER: Perhaps.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uploaded an Instagram post on April 20, 2019, with the following caption:
Are we in good spirits? We prefer to think of ourselves as cool. We want you to have a good time at the airport and arrive at your destination safely. Getting arrested while attempting to fly with marijuana or cannabis-infused items, on the other hand, might definitely put a damper on your mellow.
Let’s be honest. Officers from the Transportation Security Administration do not search for marijuana or other prohibited narcotics. Our security and threat detection procedures are at the forefront of our screening procedures. However, we are compelled by federal law to notify law enforcement if a substance seems to be marijuana or a cannabis-infused product. Items used for therapeutic purposes are included in this category.
The TSA website also contains some contradictory information, claiming that medical marijuana can be carried in checked and carry-on luggage with “specific instructions.”
According to the Transportation Security Administration’s website:
Except for goods that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that have been approved by the FDA, marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including certain cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain unlawful under federal law. (See Pub. L. 115-334, Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.) Any suspected law infractions must be reported to local, state, or federal authorities by TSA officers.
TSA screening techniques are designed to detect potential risks to aviation and passengers and are focused on security. As a result, TSA security employees do not search for marijuana or other illegal substances; but, if any illegal material is discovered during security screening, TSA will contact law police.
So, what happens if you’re stopped by the TSA for possessing medical marijuana in a state where it’s legal?
Medical marijuana is allowed at the Florida Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport if passengers have the necessary documentation, according to airport representatives. To minimize any disputes with the Federal Aviation Authority Board, which distributes subsidies for the Orlando International Airport, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Board has enacted an anti-marijuana policy (to receive grants, the Orlando International Airport must comply with all federal laws).
Marcho Marchena, an Orlando lawyer, says:
The airport essentially wants to ensure that if the federal government comes to determine that the airport is complying with all federal laws and regulations, we can say, “Here’s our policy, we’re complying with federal law.”
Marchena further stated that the airport does not provide law enforcement services. According to the Orlando Sentinel:
It’s unclear who, if anyone, would make an arrest.
Medical marijuana possession is not a serious issue, according to TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz. If a big amount of marijuana is discovered during security checks, police authorities, including possibly federal officers, will be notified.
Small quantities, on the other hand, are submitted to municipal authorities, as Koshetz says. That’s great news for visitors to Orlando. Michelle Guido, a spokesperson for the Orlando Police Department, said:
If someone is legitimately carrying medical marijuana in line with Florida law, the Orlando Police Department will take no action.
Surprisingly, the TSA has added a new line to its medical marijuana page on its website:
The TSA officer has the final say on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.
What work-related rights do medicinal marijuana patients have?
SHORT ANSWER: At this time, Florida law does not require businesses to allow employees to consume medical marijuana. Employees may still be subjected to drug tests at the employer’s discretion.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: While Florida law allows for medical marijuana usage, Senate Bill 8A specifically states:
This clause has no bearing on an employer’s capacity to adopt, maintain, or enforce a drug-free workplace policy or program. This section does not obligate an employer to allow medicinal marijuana usage in the workplace or to allow an employee to work while under the influence of marijuana. This clause does not give employees the right to sue their employers for wrongful termination or discrimination. Marijuana is not reimbursable under Chapter 440, as defined in this section.
See Can I Use Medical Marijuana at Work in Florida? for more information, including specifics concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Where are medical marijuana users unable to use the drug?
Medical marijuana usage and/or administration is absolutely illegal in the following places, according to Senate Bill 8A:
- In any public place * Using any mode of public transportation
- At the patient’s place of business (unless permitted by his or her employer)
- In a state-run penal facility
- A preschool, primary school, or secondary school’s grounds
- While riding the school bus
- In a motor vehicle
- Aboard a plane
- On the water in a motorboat
Low-THC cannabis is allowed in the categories marked with an asterisk (*).
What is the purpose of CannaMD?
Patients in Florida must first qualify for a medical marijuana certification before acquiring cannabis from a medical marijuana treatment facility (or dispensary); CannaMD supplies qualifying patients with the state-required recommendation to complete this process.
CannaMD, which focuses on evidence-based medicinal cannabis research, has a shortened pre-qualification procedure that allows patients to spend more one-on-one time with doctors.
We’ll also take you step-by-step through the entire process. Our goal is to give alternative medicine to patients in need while keeping the process as painless as possible.
CannaMD is delighted to collaborate with a team of caring, professional doctors. Please read CannaMD Physicians: State-Licensed, Board-Certified Physicians for additional information about our state-licensed, board-certified physicians. Meet Our Medical Professionals.