The steps that need to be taken on the path becoming a qualified patient credentialed to be able to purchase medical marijuana may appear to be initially confusing, and I will explain here.
The first step is to make an appointment with a qualified physician, (Dr. Shapiro), who is credentialed to be listed in the Florida Department of Health’s medical marijuana use registry, or mmu registry. You will be asked to provide information about your health issues and if possible records about your past medical treatment. I will do an evaluation that includes a history of your condition and a brief physical examination. Recommendation for medical marijuana depends on whether you have a qualifying illness as defined by Florida law or a like or kind condition that with documentation qualifies as well. These conditions can be found under their heading above on this page.
The next step, that my office will assist you with, enables you to be a qualified patient in the registry with your unique patient number. You will need a government photo ID and there is a $75 dollar fee paid to the state. You will receive emails from the state confirming your entry in the registry. After a few weeks you will be notified by email that you are qualified and then you can obtain the products from a dispensary . Dr Shapiro makes a recommendation based on your condition in the registry. This is not a prescription. After another few weeks your official card will be mailed to you. There are many dispensaries and they are able to provide detailed information about the devices and the products.
The recommendation made in the registry needs to be renewed at two 70 day intervals and with the third interval or at 210 days recertification with an office visit is necessary. The first 2 renewals do not require an office visit and can be accomplished with communication with the office. These steps are mandated by Florida law.
Purchasing medical marijuana once approved
Marijuana or cannabis as it is formally known, is still listed as a Schedule I narcotic by the US federal government and therefore cannot be sold in pharmacies since pharmacies are regulated by the federal government’s DEA. Medical marijuana can only be legally purchased from a licensed medical marijuana grower/dispensary, or MMTC as they are known in Florida.
Before a patient can legally purchase medical marijuana in Florida the marijuana doctor will enter a recommended dosage amount into the registry. Once the doctor has recommended a dosage the medical marijuana patient can only purchase medical marijuana from licensed growers/dispensaries, also known as MMTCs. Any marijuana purchased outside of these sources is deemed illegal and is not protected under Florida’s medical marijuana law.
Only the patient themselves or the patient’s legal representative may purchase low-THC, medical cannabis, or cannabis delivery devices from dispensing organizations.
A dispensary, or dispensing organization, is a company that sells medical marijuana and other related products such as cannabis delivery devices. In Florida dispensaries must be licensed by the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use.
• Terminal Conditions
• Chronic Nonmalignant Pain (Defined as “a pain that is caused by or that originated from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of the qualifying medical condition”)
Florida law permits qualified physicians to order low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis for patients diagnosed with certain conditions. There are two types of cannabis products that may be ordered by qualified physicians: