Health Care

Here’s how and where to get medical marijuana in Florida

If you live in Florida and need medical marijuana, getting access to the now-legalized drug can seem tricky.

The Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use regulates and oversees where and how the drug is obtained. It also licenses Florida businesses to cultivate, process and dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients.

Here are five steps on how to qualify for medical cannabis:

1) To qualify, you must be diagnosed with certain medical conditions: cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis (MS).

Also eligible are similar or comparable medical conditions, a terminal condition diagnosed by a qualified physician or chronic nonmalignant pain caused by a qualifying medical condition.

2.) Patients can’t just be diagnosed by any doctor. The physician must be certified by the state. To find one, you can use the state’s Medical Marijuana Qualified Ordering Physician online search tool. That doctor will ultimately decide if your medical condition qualifies for medical marijuana.

As of Aug. 23, there were 221 qualifying physicians in Miami-Dade and 146 in Broward.

3.) Once a doctor is selected, patients and their caregivers will be entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry by their qualified physician, who will provide them with an ID number.

4.) Using that ID number, patients will need to apply for their registry identification card online. You can print a paper application here.

Once your application is done, a payment of $75 has to be mailed to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use at: PO Box 31313 Tampa, FL 3363.

5.) Once the application is approved, you can fill your order at a nearby licensed medical marijuana treatment center.

If there are no local treatment centers in your city, patients can still fill their orders by contacting a medical marijuana treatment center and arrange for a delivery.