It’s a bit mind blowing to me that we are about to round out the FOURTH year of Florida’s medical cannabis program. Looking back it’s been a whirlwind of a time, coming very far from the three dispensaries and three products it seemed like we started with.
For patients new to the program, and those who have been in it from the start, the intricacies, logistics, and volume of information can become tiring and overwhelming. This post rounds up the most important need to know information, resources, and links to help cut down on the headache and get you feeling better quicker.
Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR)
As a Florida patient, the single most important thing you can do aside from educating yourself on cannabis, is getting familiar with the State Registry. The State Registry, or MMUR, is the hub of Florida’s Medical Cannabis program. It can only be accessed by patients, doctors, dispensary staff, law enforcement, and the Office of Medical Marijuana Use. It is not cross referenced with any other database such as concealed carry permits or occupational licenses. The MMUR is where you submit the yearly State application and view your recommendation and purchasing limits.
Understanding Your Recommendation/Orders
Understanding how your recommendation functions will help to avoid unnecessary frustrations when navigating and purchasing from dispensaries. Your physician’s recommendation will include ‘orders’ that serve as a de-facto prescription (physician’s cannot legally ‘prescribe’ cannabis). These orders specify the types and delivery routes of medication you can purchase and are broken down into the following categories:
How Much Medical Cannabis Can I Purchase?
Your orders will also specify the recommended daily dose. This is a MAX purchasing dose and not a daily consumption amount. The registry will calculate your total purchasing limit by multiplying the daily dosage amount by number of days in the order. Low-thc and medical marijuana orders are given in 70 day increments, while smoking is authorized in 35 day increments. For example, 400mg per day x 70 days for a total of 28,000 mg is a common recommendation. With the exception of 2.5 ounces/35 days for smokable cannabis, maximum dosage amounts have been proposed by the State, but not adopted.
Understanding Your Orders Quick Tips
To view your orders within the registry you will need to click between the tabs to view drop down menus.
Orders don’t show in chronological order within the registry, often requiring that patients/dispensaries click through multiple pages to find the active order.
You are not required to purchase your entire milligram limit at one time. Instead, the system works like a bank account with your purchases deducted from your total available balance every time you make a purchase. Remaining milligrams are forfeited on their expiration date.
Scheduled orders will start automatically, effectively resetting the available milligram or ounce balance.
Understanding Your Orders Registry Guide
Registry Instructional Guides & Support
The State Office of Medical Marijuana Use publishes registry guides for physicians, patients, and law enforcement. These guides are broken down into various categories and tasks and should be the first thing to consult with any difficulty related to the registry.
The OMMU can also be contacted for Registry Technical Support at 850-245-4657 (Option 2).
Unlike other State Medical Cannabis programs, Florida physician’s have a very active role in the care and management of cannabis patients. Taking the time to research and choose a physician with experience and understanding of the Florida program can go a long way in reducing stress and patient success.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Florida Medical Cannabis Physician
Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs)
Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs), more commonly referred to as dispensaries are charged with producing and selling medical cannabis in Florida. These companies are vertically integrated, meaning they perform all aspects of the process from seed to sale – cultivation and retail distribution. Each MMTC company has different products and offerings unique to their operation. You can purchase from as many dispensaries as you like, given you stay within the confines of your recommendation.
It’s important to understand the limitations of Florida MMTCs. While occasionally you will come across a dispensary worker who is educated and medically informed, they are typically entry level retail service staff with little to no medical or cannabis training. They are trained to know and sell the products that specific MMTC offers. For guidance and support, work with your cannabis physician or a cannabis coach.
MMTC Quick Tips
Some MMTCs can be crowded and very busy. If you are prone to anxiety in these settings you may want to avoid shopping in store during sales, holidays, and special events.
Most MMTCs offer some level of free delivery. This is a great way to avoid the headache of in-store.
All MMTCs provide online ordering, including in store pickup and delivery. This is a great option for saving time and ensuring stock availability prior to making the trip to the dispensary. Policy varies by MMTC, but most will notify you when your order is ready for pick up or if your items aren’t in stock.
Payment options vary by MMTC. Cash and Canpay are the most common, with some companies now accepting debit or credit.
Dispensary Deals and Discount Overview
All MMTCs offer first time and specialized discounts. Shop strategically and you can really make these discounts count. This list is managed and updated regularly with discount changes.
OMMU Weekly Updates
Every Friday the Office of Medical Marijuana Use publishes a weekly update, including new MMTC location approvals and dispensation totals. This is a great way to get a heads up on upcoming MMTC openings.
Connecting with other patients can be a great way to learn. Social platforms like Facebook and Reddit have online groups dedicated to Florida Medical Cannabis. While I do visit and interact within some of these groups, I’ve opted to not link them directly as the quality really varies. Keep in mind that while you may find excellent information and form relationships with others, online support groups can also be a breeding ground for misinformation. Before acting on any information or suggestions obtained in these groups, it’s important to verify from a trusted source or your cannabis physician.
For patients looking for an added level of one on one support during their cannabis journey, cannabis coaching can be a great way to bridge the gap between the doctors office and day to day management of your medical cannabis.
Obtaining legal status as a cannabis patient is a momentous moment for many of us, but it’s important to understand the limitations of what you can and cannot do as a legal patient.
To verify as a legal cannabis patient, you must maintain both an active recommendation with your physician and a valid MMUR ID card with the State.
Your MMUR ID card (or temporary email) must be on your person whenever you are possessing medical cannabis.
Florida patients are only authorized to purchase and possess cannabis products from a State licensed MMTC.
Products must be kept in their original packaging.
Patients are not permitted to use any form of Medical Marijuana (high THC) or smokable cannabis in a vehicle, boat, public transportation, or public space. Low THC products (high CBD/low THC) may be used in these settings.
It is illegal to transfer medications out of the State of Florida or to another person.
It is illegal to grow cannabis in the State of Florida.
OMMU Know the Facts Legal Use
Program Rules and Regulations
Law Enforcement Registry Guide
Cannabis is different than any other medication, as it puts you, the patient, in control of your day to day care. The most successful patients are willing and able to learn about cannabis and take an active and direct interest in their treatment regimen. You get out of it what you put into it. These resources will help get you started.
Reputable Online Cannabis Resources
Florida Specific Cannabis Education
Florida Medical Cannabis Clinic Patient Resource Hub
Submitting the Florida Medical Marijuana Use Registry State Card Application
Florida Medical Cannabis Delivery Methods
Smokable Flower in Florida
Florida Medical Cannabis: Edibles Update
Overview of Florida Medical Cannabis Concentrates
10 Money Saving Tips for Florida Medical Cannabis
Florida Medical Cannabis – Things to Know About Vaping
Not a Florida Medical Cannabis Patient? Check out www.flmedcannabis.org to get certified and obtain your card.