Ben Pollara of Florida for Care, a major facilitator for Amendment 2 being added to the ballot last year that created the opportunity for medical marijuana here in Florida, believes that new patients will be able to buy medical marijuana in just a couple of weeks. Originally there was a 90 day waiting period after a medical marijuana patient was granted a medical marijuana card by a doctor but that was lifted with the new legislation. While Governor Rick Scott signed the new legislation into place last month, the amendment gave until October before the rules needed to be enacted. Perhaps enactment is happening sooner, but all new patients or those considering applying for a medical marijuana card should be careful during this transition period.
Floridians with severe illnesses are just a few weeks and a few hundred dollars away from buying weed through the state’s newly expanded medical marijuana program.
“You could probably go see a doctor today, and within a couple weeks be purchasing marijuana,” said Ben Pollara, executive director of Florida for Care, the group pushing politicians to set patient-friendly rules.
One caveat: Patients can’t buy pot in the leafy green buds most commonly associated with the drug. Instead, cannabis is delivered through vaporizers, oral drops and nasal sprays.
Florida voters in November overwhelmingly passed Amendment 2, a measure that makes marijuana available to people with cancer, epilepsy, HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder and other ailments. Gov. Rick Scott on June 23 signed a bill that eliminates a 90-day waiting period for pot patients.
Scott also removed sales taxes from cannabis transactions. Before he signed the bill, patients paid county sales taxes — typically 7 percent — on medical marijuana.
Patients who want to try weed start by visiting one of the 800 or so doctors who are permitted by the Florida Department of Health to recommend cannabis. Prices vary, but the initial visit typically costs about $200.
If the physician signs off, the patient applies to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use for a state ID card, which costs $75.
Next, patients find a supplier. The state has licensed seven organizations to grow, distribute and sell medical marijuana.
For Palm Beach County residents, the nearest retail location is near Miami International Airport. But dispensaries are allowed to deliver weed, so long as the product is transported by their employees, and not by FedEx, UPS or another carrier. The delivery fee will set you back $25.