TALLAHASSEE, FL â€” The Sunshine State has seen a meteoric
rise in medical marijuana popularity ever since its introduction. The 2016
approval of Amendment 2, garnering an impressive 71.3% of votes, paved the way
for this burgeoning industry. However, the journey wasn't smooth from the
get-go. Initially, smoking medical marijuana was prohibited, leading to a
significant public backlash. The ban was eventually lifted after a circuit
court deemed it unconstitutional. By 2020, regulations were updated to include
edible products in the mix.
With the regulatory fog cleared, the state witnessed an
explosion in the number of dispensaries. At present, twenty distinct cannabis
firms operate, and more are on the horizon, including the renowned Planet 13.
Among the major players, TruLieve leads the pack with 126 outlets, followed by
MÃ¼V's 70 locations, Ayr Cannabis Dispensaries with 62, and Curaleaf boasting
The Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU), a department under Florida's
Health umbrella, provides oversight. Recent data paints a vivid picture: just
in the week leading to September 7, dispensaries doled out a staggering 107,000
ounces of smokable cannabis, and a cumulative 321,045,534 mg of THC. The
growing interest isn't confined to Florida; nationwide metrics show the state
leading in medical marijuana interest, with Google search data revealing an
average of 231 monthly searches per 100,000 residents.
So, what's the path to acquiring medical marijuana in Florida?
The OMMU provides a streamlined process. First, one needs to
be diagnosed by a certified doctor. After qualifying, the physician registers
the patient in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR). Applicants then access the
MMUR to get an ID card. Requirements include a Florida driver's license or an
ID for residency verification. If one opts for an online application, the state
driver's license image suffices. If not, a recent 2x2 passport-style picture is
necessary. The OMMU charges $75 to obtain an MMJ card in Florida, after which cardholders can visit any
For eligibility, a few conditions are set: you should either
be a permanent or a seasonal Florida dweller, and a qualifying medical
condition diagnosis is imperative. Interestingly, caregivers for patients can
also acquire a Medical Marijuana Caregiver ID Card, which permits them to
order, buy, and transport the drug, though consumption isn't allowed.
Caregivers need to be over 21, refresh their certification biennially, and if
they aren't closely related to the patient, a background check becomes necessary.
What about minors? Florida has no specific age constraints,
but a double diagnosis from physicians is a must. The OMMU stipulates that
those below 18 can only smoke cannabis if they have a terminal condition.