May 4 of 2023 brought good news for medical marijuana users in the state of Florida, as Florida Governor, Ron Desantis, signed a new piece of Florida Legislature, HB 387. This new law, which will become effective on July 1, 2023, expands the use of telemedicine in Florida for medical marijuana patients.
Overview of the Telemedicine Bill in Florida
The Telemedicine Florida HB 387 bill essentially allows both patients and healthcare services to use telemedicine in Florida for medical marijuana recertifications. In other words, patients will be able to new their medical marijuana certification through a telehealth Florida appointment with their doctor, rather than needing to pass in-person patient evaluations.
Patients will still need to go through an in-person examination with healthcare practitioners licensed in the state of Florida to get their initial certification. But if they need a renewal, this can all be done via telemedicine in Florida. The temporary allowance of telehealth recertification actually came into practice during the COVID-19 pandemic, but HB 387 makes it permanent.
Advantages of Telemedicine Renewals for Medical Marijuana
There are many benefits associated with the new bill, with both patients and healthcare providers able to notice the advantages, which include:
- Increased accessibility and convenience for patients: Naturally, it’s much more convenient for the average patient to be able to request recertification via a telemedicine appointment with their doctor, rather than having to drive out to the clinic.
- Reduction of barriers to healthcare access: For a long time, certain patients found it very difficult to get the access they needed to controlled substances like marijuana. However, this new bill makes it much more accessible. People who live many miles from the nearest clinic, for example, won’t have to worry about the long and costly drive. Similarly, those who can’t drive or have disabilities will be able to access the healthcare they need more easily.
- Cost savings for patients and the healthcare system: There are also financial benefits to this new bill for both patients and doctors alike. Patients can save money, as they won’t have to spend time and fuel getting to and from their local clinics, nor will they need to take time off work for their appointments. Doctors can also save money, as they can free up their waiting rooms for patients with other needs and see more patients per day.
- Enhanced patient privacy and confidentiality: Another big benefit of telemedicine in Florida for marijuana renewals is the higher level of patient privacy it provides. Patients can discreetly and comfortably request a renewal from
the comfort of their own homes, rather than having to physically visit clinics and go through tests and checks.
Qualified Conditions for Medical Marijuana Prescriptions via Telemedicine
In other to benefit from this new service, all patients must a permanent or seasonal residents in the state of Florida. They must also have been entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry by a qualified physician, as well as having a Medical Marijuana Use Registry card.
They will also need to have one of the following conditions:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- A terminal condition
- A chronic pain condition
- A condition of a similar class or variety to those listed above
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card via Telemedicine
Patients to obtain their medical marijuana cards in Florida online with the aid of telemedicine just need to follow a few simple steps:
- First, schedule a telemedicine appointment with the medical marijuana doctor. You can do this via your doctor’s website, or call them if you’re having trouble and need assistance.
- Next, share all of your relevant medical records. This includes the relevant documents to show that you have a qualifying condition, as diagnosed by your healthcare provider. You also need to provide a state ID and make a payment for the card.
- Next, you’ll need to undergo your telemedicine appointment, connecting with your marijuana doctor through telehealth in Florida. They’ll be able to carry out a quick telemedicine evaluation to determine and confirm your medical marijuana needs.
- With the appointment complete, all you need to do is wait. As long as the qualifying conditions have all been met, you should receive your medical marijuana card soon.
Overall, at a time when so many patients in Florida and beyond are benefitting from the unique therapeutic effects of medical marijuana, it’s encouraging to see the state taking steps to make marijuana more accessible to those who need it. Other states may soon follow Florida’s example, offering telemedicine renewals for marijuana prescriptions.