Becoming a patient in Florida

Below is information for the current low-THC program in Florida. Regulations for patients under Amendment 2 will be issued in 2017. ASA will be provide updated information as it becomes available.

Summary

Under SB 1030, a "qualified patient” is defined as "a resident of this state who has been added to the compassionate use registry by a physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 to receive low-THC cannabis from a dispensing organization." Patients must be permanent residents of the state in order for a physician to recommend low-THC cannabis to a patient in Florida. Patients under the age of 18 need two physicians to recommend low-THC cannabis before the minor patient can register with the program.

There is an exemption in the law that allows patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness by two physicians that enables them to use medical cannabis without limits on THC content, but this exception is very narrow.

What's Legal

For most eligible patients in Florida, only low-THC cannabis products are available to patients who have a recommendation from their physician for cancer, seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms, or seizure disorders.

Eligible conditions

  • cancer;
  • a  physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures; or
  • a  physical medical condition that chronically produces severe and persistent muscle spasms

Application process

Patients must schedule a face-to-face consultation with a qualified physician who has undergone the training required to order cannabis for patients. You can find a complete list of qualified physicians, current as of August 2016, here. Physicians may only order low-THC cannabis for a patient if he or she has treated that patient during the immediate preceding three months.

Doctor

See section on how to recommend medical cannabis in Florida

Access/Caregivers

The law allows a patient's "legal representative" to assist in the acquisition and administration of low-THC cannabis products; however, the law does not explain how a person becomes the legal representative for the patient.  Presumably this protection would extend to parents, legal guardians, and those with power of attorney over the patient.

Consumption

Patients do not have access to low-THC cannabis in dried flower form, nor are they allowed to combust their medicine in order to inhale it.

Age Limits

Patients of any age are eligible; however, patients under the age of 18 must be diagnosed by two physicians, and a concurring diagnosis must be placed in the patient's medical file.

Confidentiality

The are no privacy protections for the patient registry in SB 1030.

Housing

The are not housing protections for patients under SB 1030.

Employment

The are not employment protections for patients under SB 1030.

Insurance

SB 1030 is silent on whether health insurance must provide coverage for low-THC cannabis therapy.

Out of State patients

Only Florida patients registered with the state are eligible for legal protections under SB 1030.

For More information

Florida Department of Health Office of Compassionate Use program page

Quick Links

Law: SB 1030

Low THC Patient info sheet

Medical Cannabis Patient info sheet


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