Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer

Who is eligible to use marijuana for medical purposes?

For decades, marijuana has been deemed an illegal substance for private, public and medical use. Now that there is a new medical marijuana law going into effect, many people in Broward County may not be clear about how to qualify to legally use the substance. Having a good understanding of who is eligible to use medical marijuana can help to prevent legal complications and entanglements down the line.

Qualifying for a medical marijuana card

A valid medical marijuana card is required to gain access to the market. These are not to be confused with marijuana prescriptions, which are illegal. On the federal level, marijuana is still an illegal substance, so no physician can legally prescribe it. However, there are medical marijuana-certified doctors who can approve qualified patients so they can apply for a medical marijuana card.

Patients who have certain ailments, such as Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and other debilitating medical conditions are eligible to apply. In addition to suffering from an approved condition, patients must also:

  • Be over the age of 18
  • Be a legal resident of the state
  • Have been diagnosed by a medical marijuana-certified doctor
  • Have valid and legal identification such as a state ID or driver's license
  • Obtain their medical records
  • Register with the Department of Health and Human Services

Understanding how medical marijuana works

Many people take medical marijuana to manage pain. The THC content and other ingredients in marijuana make it highly effective against certain types of pain for people who are chronically or terminally ill. Some patients take it because it allows them to feel hungry and eat. One of the benefits of marijuana use is appetite stimulation. Many people who suffer from cancer and are undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy do not have appetites and may also suffer from nausea, which makes it hard for them to eat.

Many people support the use of marijuana for medical purposes because it is less habit inducing than some pain medication. Many of the medications that doctors prescribe are opioids, which have a high risk of addiction. Some of these meds also have less-than-desirable side effects that can further exacerbate the symptoms of some diseases. For example, constipation is a symptom that people who suffer from Crohn's disease experience. Many opioids cause constipation when taken regularly.

Legal help when you need it

Getting a medical marijuana card is not an easy process. It requires a good deal of time and strict adherence to guidelines. If you are struggling with the process or end up dealing with the aftermath of a legal matter involving marijuana, you should speak with an attorney to discuss your situation.

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