What does it take to obtain a medical cannabis certification in the state of Florida?
Rather than a trip to a doctor’s office for a prescription, medical cannabis patients often face a gauntlet of regulation before they can begin treatment.
Simplifying the Struggle
Patients first have to prove residency within the state via a picture ID.
Sounds easy enough, unless the patient doesn’t drive or is a seasonal resident.
In which case, they must provide an in-state deed or lease agreement, a utility bill, or mail from a federal agency addressed to their local place of residence.
They then have to pay a $75 processing fee to the state to obtain their Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card, which has to be renewed each year.
Then the patient has to be certified by a physician every seven months.
Any patient seeking medical cannabis must have at least one of ten qualifying conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, or epilepsy.
As one might imagine, keeping up with the certifications and fees required can be a challenge for someone suffering from a debilitating illness.
CEO and Founder of My Florida Green Nick Garulay recognized this problem and became one of the first Medical Marijuana Certification Centers to open in Florida. He saw an opportunity to use technology to facilitate a faster, more navigable system for patients to connect with doctors.
Garulay describes My Florida Green as a patient management platform, which “manages the relationship to the patient, the education for the patient, as well as scheduling with the doctor, and setting reminders for recertifications and documentation.”
Understanding the Medicine
Most of Garulay’s clients are over the age of 40, have never used cannabis, and have been indoctrinated by decades of stigma.
Once they’ve opened their minds to accepting cannabis as a treatment, many struggle to find reputable, medically-focused resources where they can learn about their medicine.
This is where Garulay’s platform adds an extra dimension. “We make sure our clients understand the basics, the foundation of cannabis, and the differences between THC and CBD,” he noted.
My Florida Green’s educational videos cover topics ranging from delivery methods to understanding the endocannabinoid system.
Each video provides an overview of the topic, educating without overwhelming viewers.
The intention is not to create experts, but to give patients enough information so they can communicate effectively with their doctors.
Many terminally ill patients suffer from more than the symptoms of their disease.
Side effects and adverse reactions to pharmaceutical medications are all too common, with doctors forced to treat symptoms caused by pills with more pills.
This pharmaceutical snowball effect can be costly, damaging to the liver, and unsustainable for the patient.
For many, medical cannabis is one of the most exciting alternatives to pharmaceuticals.
With few, if any, side effects and overwhelmingly positive case studies citing relief from pain, nausea, sleeplessness, or anxiety, the therapeutic potential of the plant is high.
It’s yet another reason Garulay feels My Florida Green is about more than convenience and aims to take the platform nationwide.
“I’m on a mission to change the healthcare system. It’s broken, and my ultimate goal is to disrupt it. If I have to do that with medical marijuana, proving that it can be used as an alternative to dangerous synthetic medicines, then I’m honored to be part of that.”