Immediately after Florida residents voted in favor of passing Amendment 2, demand for marijuana in Orlando, Florida skyrocketed. There are roughly 118,000 patients and nearly 3,000 doctors in the official registry for medicinal cannabis in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health. The FDOH also claims there are just over 94,000 patients who’ve received their Florida medical marijuana ID cards.
With so many people already registered, it’s easy to presume the process to get prescribed medical marijuana in Orlando is quick and easy. Physicians certified to register patients and dispensaries selling the medicine are seen advertising on buses, billboards, and in other prominent locations.
Florida marijuana is also in the news just about every day now. There are even “Don’t Drive Baked” commercial campaigns running in primetime spots on most major TV networks.
So what’s the state of marijuana in Florida actually look like? Let’s break down some key facts and myths to clarify the subject. Here’s all you need to know about marijuana in Orlando and cannabis in Florida:
Medical marijuana is legal. Recreational marijuana is illegal.
Pot enthusiasts have been using marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes for centuries. Most historians agree the first recorded use of cannabis as a medicine was in 2737 BC, though hemp cord can be traced back over 10,000 years.
Cannabis in Florida can only be used for medicinal purposes.
In 2012, Colorado and Washington both legalized recreational use. Since then, more states have legalized recreational use or begun drafting legislation to do so. Florida is not one of them, but there is a lot of speculation about a vote coming in 2020.
Smokable medical marijuana is not available for legal purchase – yet.
Even with the ban on smoking medical weed lifted, legally buying it is still impossible. Treatment centers should begin carrying smokable products fairly soon, though.
The legislation process can finally begin, but it will take the FDOH several months to determine the rules for cultivating, distributing, and selling smokable cannabis.
If a treatment center, dispensary, or doctor claims otherwise, you are being lied to.
Having a qualifying medical condition does not make marijuana use legal.
The marijuana culture has long been a victim of misinformation. The community of people interested in marijuana in Orlando is no different. It can be easy to misinterpret headlines like “Smoking marijuana now legal in Florida.” or “Judge lifts ban on smoking pot for patients with these medical conditions.”
To be clear, marijuana in Orlando is not legal without a certified doctor’s approval (even if you are using it as medicine). Without taking the right steps, carrying and using weed still carries potential criminal charges, regardless of how serious your condition is. As the Florida Department of Health states,
“Only qualified physicians are permitted to certify patients for medical marijuana use.”
Fraudulent practices relating to pot are on the rise.
The American marijuana industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that shows no signs of slowing down. Financial experts generally project the legal weed industry to double in growth over the next year and reach roughly $40 billion dollars in sales in North America by the year 2021. And where there’s cash, there’s opportunity.
Unfortunately, this level of opportunity attracts unsavory people looking to make money off people’s suffering. Scams and frauds related to marijuana in Orlando are becoming more and more common. In fact, the Florida Department of Health recently released a statement that specifically addressed the growing problem.
Here are some tips to avoid having your medical condition taken advantage of:
- Legitimate marijuana doctors do not market their services through unassociated social media accounts or randomly target patients online.
- Online medical marijuana certification does not exist. You are required to meet with the physician in person.
- It is illegal for a certified physician to have any financial ties to local dispensaries, marijuana treatment centers, or other places that cultivate, distribute, or sell medical marijuana. This includes renting office space.
- Offices that conduct video telemedicine or allow non-physician healthcare workers (including nurses and physician’s assistants) to certify patients do so illegally and are quickly shut down. When this happens you will be forced to find another physician and pay the initial cost for new patients again.
- Alleged offers claiming quick, official certifications to grow marijuana legally are fake. Patients are not allowed to cultivate or grow marijuana in Florida.
- Officially certified physicians qualified to make cannabis referrals must be registered and can be searched for in the medical marijuana registry database.
Marijuana in Orlando