Medical Marijuana Law in FloridaFlorida voters will have the opportunity to legalize medical cannabis this November. If the ballot measure passes with at least 60% of the vote, the state constitution will be amended to permit the cultivation, purchase, possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes, when recommended by a state-licensed physician. The new Florida medical marijuana law would designate specific diseases and conditions that are approved to be treated with medical marijuana, but allows physicians to recommend its use for “other conditions,” as long as the physician believes marijuana use would outweigh any potential health risks for the patient.
What to Expect if Marijuana Becomes LegalIf voters pass the ballot measure, the amendment becomes effective January 6, 2015. Florida’s Department of Health would be required to implement its rules and regulations regarding cultivation and sale within six months, and begin issuing medical marijuana cards within nine months. Interested patients would need to apply for a medical marijuana card, after securing a recommendation from a state-licensed physician who has completed a physical examination. There will likely be an application fee and annual renewal fees for card holders. The Department of Health will be required to keep all medical marijuana card records confidential. Once a patient has received a medical marijuana card, the next step is to find a cannabis dispensary that fits his or her needs. In Florida, the state will license both growers and cannabis dispensaries as “Medical Treatment Centers.” At this point, patients will not be allowed to grow their own medical marijuana.
What to Expect at a Cannabis DispensarySome medical marijuana dispensaries require memberships; others do not. Member collectives often allow customers to pay a membership fee when they make their first purchase. Many are open to all, but offer additional discounts to members.
Here are some rules you may encounter at a cannabis dispensary:
- Check in with security personnel or go through a metal detector.
- Show a medical marijuana card.
- Complete paperwork.
- Leave your cellphone at the security desk or in your pocket.
How to Find a Good Cannabis DispensaryFinding a good cannabis dispensary might require some research, or could be as simple as asking a friend or family member for a referral. It’s a good idea to check local laws, as well. Fort Lauderdale, for example, could have completely different regulations than Ocala or Pensacola.
You might consider some of all of these factors when making your dispensary decision:
- Professional staff with good product knowledge
- Prices, which should be clearly marked
- Good product selection
- Tested products
- A variety of accessories
- Friendly, helpful service
- Clean, safe environment
- Product quality
- Organically grown products
Cannabis Dispensaries Statistics
- Medical marijuana dispensaries in California: estimated between 500 and 1,000
- Medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado: 500+
- Retail marijuana stores allowed in Washington State: 334
- Licensed retail marijuana stores in Colorado: 136
- Marijuana dispensaries allowed in Arizona: 124
- Retail marijuana stores allowed in Seattle: 21
- Marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island: 2