If you’re a part-time resident of Florida and you’re hoping to take advantage of the legal protections and relief provided by the state’s medical-marijuana program, you’re in luck. As it turns out, according to the law, you only need to have resided in the state for 31 days to be eligible. Which means that snowbirds can benefit from the effects of medical marijuana with a Florida medical marijuana card. Of course, that is assuming you have been diagnosed with one of the qualifying medical conditions.
In this post, we’ll walk part-time residents through the process of getting a Florida medical marijuana card and obtaining medicine. We’ll also talk about what you can and can’t do under the law as a card-holder.
Who qualifies as a resident?
Let’s face it. Everyone knows that Florida is the best place to spend the winter. While the rest of the country is lit up in blue on the winter weather map, Florida is still golden.
As you might expect lots of folks from up north do call Florida home in the winter months. Snowbirds, we call them, because they migrate back up north when the kitchen gets too hot here in the Sunshine State’s sweltering, sticky summers.
But what sets a snowbird apart from a vacationer in the eyes of the state?
The answer is simple. If you’ve lived in Florida for more than 30 days, you’re considered a resident.
What are acceptable forms of proof of residency?
The following documents are acceptable to prove that you’re a Florida resident:
A current utility bill
A recent mortgage statement
Mail from a financial institution from the past two months
Mail from a government agency from the past two months
Other documents such a lease might be acceptable, but if you don’t supply one of the above documents, there is a chance you’ll need to provide more evidence.
But, assuming you’re getting your mail delivered to your Florida residence, and assuming you get the usual bank statements and utility bills, then you’re good to go.
What are the qualifying medical conditions?
The good news is that under Florida’s medical marijuana laws, the decision as to what constitutes a qualifying condition is in the hands of your doctor — where it belongs. If a state-certified doctor determines that you have a chronic or debilitating condition from which marijuana might provide relief, then you qualify.
That being said, however, the state also provides guidance on the matter with a list of specific qualifying conditions.
In January 2017, when state legislators passed Amendment 2, they included a specific list of qualifying conditions that would be eligible for medical cannabis treatment.
The specific qualifying medical conditions for a Florida medical marijuana license are:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS / Lou Gehrig’s disease)
HIV / AIDS
Chronic muscle spasms
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Also, as we mentioned above, doctors may approve your application if you suffer from any ailment/condition “of the same severity/symptoms.”
Since this is the service we provide, we have consulted with our doctors to put together an expanded list of conditions that might qualify.
Chemotherapy side effects
Inflammatory bowel disease
If your medical condition still isn’t on the list, we recommend that you give us a call to discuss your unique situation. We’ll give you a free evaluation. If you don’t qualify, you don’t pay!
How do I get a doctor’s approval?
Once we’ve determined that you qualify, we’ll walk you through the entire process from beginning to end.
Part of that process is to ask your current doctor for copies of all pertinent medical records. If you call their office and let them know that you’re applying for a medical marijuana card in Florida and need copies of your records, they’ll walk you through the process.
If for some reason you cannot get copies of the required records, give us a call, and we might be able to help you acquire the copies, have them sent directly to our doctor, or, in the worst-case scenario start a new doctor-patient relationship with you to determine your medical condition and eligibility.
Once the medical records issue has been resolved, you can make an appointment with a state-certified medical marijuana doctor at one of our 17 statewide locations.
If you’d like more details on getting your Florida medical marijuana card, check out this article.
What comes after approval?
Once your eligibility has been determined, your doctor will get you registered with the Medical Marijuana Use Registry maintained by the Florida Department of Health.
The next step is to log in and complete your application. At Marijuana Doctors, we can help you with this process as well. This is where you’ll need to upload scanned copies of your proof-of-residency documents as well.
When can I actually purchase my medical marijuana?
Once you have been approved by the state a card will be mailed to your Florida address.
But you don’t have to wait until your card arrives to visit a dispensary and purchase your medicine. All you need is a valid ID.
Can I travel with medical marijuana?
While you can purchase your medical marijuana as soon as your application has been approved, it is not recommended that you travel with your medical marijuana on your person or in your car until you have received your card in the mail. Although law enforcement officials can ultimately confirm your eligibility and corroborate your story by checking the registry, the lengthy process could tie you up unnecessarily.
Once you have received your card, you’ll have no problems. That is assuming you follow the rules such as not carrying an open container in your car. Keep your medicine in the trunk or a locked glove box to be safe.
Keep in mind, you are only covered within the state of Florida. Once you drive across the border or get on a plane, you will be risking the wrath of federal law enforcement officials, or officers in other states where marijuana might be illegal without an in-state medical marijuana card.
What this means is that when you head back up north, it is a good idea to leave your medicine behind.
There is an exception to this rule. If you are purchasing products that are THC-free such as CBD oil produced from hemp (rather than marijuana), you might be okay. While CBD products are safe for both air and car travel, should you have any concerns, it is best to research the laws pertaining to CBD in the state to which you are flying to, or states through which you will be driving.
For more information on the penalties associated with unlawful cannabis possession check out this article.
That’s it. Hopefully, this helped clarify a few things for you snowbirds.
The next step is simply to give us a call at (844) 442-0362 to discuss your individual medical marijuana eligibility and determine a course of action. Call us from anywhere in Florida, and we’ll get you situated with the Marijuana Doctor’s office nearest to your location.
With multiple locations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Lake Worth, Clearwater, and others, you’re likely to find a doctor close to your home.
Or you can email us at email@example.com for more information.
Marijuana Doctor also offers In-home visits in certain cases. Call for details.