Physicians' Frequently Asked Questions
Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, the Florida Department of Health issued Emergency Order 20-002, which allows the use of telemedicine by qualified physicians for recertifications of already-existing patients.
Under the order, qualified physicians under section 381.986, Florida Statutes, may issue a physician certification only for an existing qualified patient with an existing certification that was issued by that qualified physician without the need to conduct a physical examination while physically present in the same room as the patient. Telehealth services may only substitute the requirement to “conduct a physical examination while physically present in the same room as the patient,” as required by section 381.986(4)(a)1., Florida Statutes. Telehealth shall have the same meaning as section 456.47(1)(a).
All other minimum practice requirements and standards of care shall still apply to recertifications issued under this exception - including obtaining informed written consent from the patient.
This exception to section 381.986(4)(a)1., Florida Statutes, only applies for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days unless extended by order of the State Surgeon General. Meaning, qualified physicians may not use telemedicine to certify patients after April 15, 2020. Any statute and/or rule to the contrary is hereby suspended for a period of thirty days, unless extended.
The Office of Medical Marijuana Use strongly urges all health care practitioners to regularly visit the Department's COVID-19 website to keep informed on the latest information: http://floridahealthcovid19.gov/
How can a patient receive medical marijuana?
A qualified patient must first seek treatment from a qualified physician. A qualified physician must enter the patient’s information into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. Once the physician inputs the patient’s information, the patient must apply and be approved for a Medical Marijuana Use Identification Card. Once approved, patients may fill the order only at an approved Medical Marijuana Treatment Center, or via delivery.
What are the requirements for a Florida physician to qualify to order medical marijuana?
A physician may only order low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana if he or she holds an active, unrestricted license as a physician under Chapter 458, Florida Statutes or an osteopathic physician under Chapter 459, Florida Statutes.
Additionally, a qualified physician must have successfully completed a 2-hour CME course and examination titled Florida Physician Medical Marijuana Course. Completion of the 2-hour course and exam is required each time the physician renews his or her medical license. A link to the course can be found here.
What are the requirements for a Medical Director of a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center?
A medical director must hold an active, unrestricted license as a physician under Chapter 458, Florida Statutes or as an osteopathic physician under Chapter 459, Florida Statutes. They must also complete a 2-hour CME course and examination titled Florida Medical Marijuana Course for MMTC Medical Directors. A link to the course can be found here.
Once I have taken the required training, how long will it take for the order indicator to show on my license?
The Florida Medical Association reports course completion to the department’s continuing education tracking system within 12 to 24 hours of you completing the course. Once this information is available in the tracking system, the indicator with appear on the License Verification Site within 24 hours.
How do patients find qualified physicians who can order low-THC cannabis, medical marijuana or cannabis delivery devices?
Patients can use the Medical Marijuana Qualified Physician search tool to find a qualified physician by location and/or specialty.
How do I update my contact information that appears in the registry and on the list of qualified physicians?
I took the qualified physician course, but I do not intend to order marijuana, how do I get my name taken off the list and my order indicator removed?
Do qualified physicians have to conduct an in-person physical examination or can they issue a certification for medical marijuana by telemedicine?
The law requires that qualified physicians may only issue a certification if they conduct a physical examination while physically present in the same room as the patient and a full assessment of the medical history. A certification may not be issued through telemedicine.
What are the requirements for a patient to be eligible?
- Be a permanent or seasonal Florida resident
- Be diagnosed with a qualifying condition
- Be entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry by a qualified physician
- Obtain a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card
What are the qualifying medical conditions?
Can patients obtain medical marijuana if they do not have one of the qualifying conditions?
How do I provide the required documentation if I issue a physician certification for a medical condition of the same kind or class?
You are required to provide the documentation within 14 days after issuing the certification. The documentation must provide the information required by statute. A qualified physician must mail the documentation to the Board of Medicine or the Board of Osteopathic Medicine. Those addresses are available on the boards’ websites. There is no specific format required for the documentation but, to assist physicians in complying with the law, the boards have created a form for providing the documentation. The form is available on the boards’ websites.
For questions specific to statutorily-required documentation, please call 850-617-1903 or email MQA.HCPR-DataTeam@flhealth.gov
Is the standardized consent form available and where can I find one?
How much low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana can a qualified physician order for a patient?
Qualified physicians can order no more than three 70-day supplies within a physician certification for the medical use of low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana for qualified patients.
Medical marijuana in a form for smoking may only be ordered 35-day increments. Qualified patients may have up to six 35-day orders of medical marijuana in a form for smoking in one physician certification.
What is the difference between low-THC cannabis and medical marijuana?
Low-THC cannabis means a plant of the genus Cannabis, the dried flowers of which contain 0.8 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol weight for weight; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; or any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant or its seeds or resin that is dispensed from a medical marijuana treatment center. Low-THC cannabis contains very low amounts of the psychoactive compound THC, and typically does not result in the “high” often associated with medical cannabis.
Medical marijuana means all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin, including low-THC cannabis, which are dispensed from a medical marijuana treatment center for medical use by a qualified patient. Medical marijuana contains significant levels of the cannabinoid THC and can result in the euphoric "high" sensation.
What is a marijuana delivery device?
A marijuana delivery device is an object used, intended for use, or designed for use in preparing, storing, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana into the human body, and which is dispensed from a medical marijuana treatment center for medical use by a qualified patient.
Does the law allow qualifying patients to grow their own medical marijuana?
Who can sell low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana?
Licensed medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs) are the only businesses in Florida authorized to dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients and caregivers. Click here to access the list of approved MMTCs.
Who can purchase medical marijuana from an approved medical marijuana treatment center?
Medical marijuana treatment centers may only provide low-THC cannabis, medical marijuana or a marijuana delivery device to a qualified patient or a qualified patient's caregiver.
Who can be a qualified patient's caregiver?
Florida law defines a caregiver as a resident of Florida who has agreed to assist with a qualified patient’s medical use of marijuana, has a caregiver identification card, and meets all requirements under Florida law.
A caregiver must:
- Be 21 years of age;
- Agree in writing to assist with a qualified patient’s medical use of marijuana
- Be registered in the medical marijuana use registry as a caregiver for no more than one qualified patient, unless exempted from this requirement by Section 381.986(6), F.S.; and
- Meet all other requirements of Section 381.986(6), F.S.
A caregiver may not:
- Be a qualified physician;
- Be employed by or have an economic interest in a medical marijuana treatment center or a marijuana testing laboratory; or
- Receive compensation, other than actual expenses incurred, for any services provided to the qualified patient.