Check facts before calling for 'Legal Weed'

Signs advertise for membership that Health Department says isn't required

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Signs popping up along a busy section of Atlantic Boulevard offering $199 office visits for “Legal Weed” have sparked questions in Jacksonville.

“I can't believe we have signs around residential property advertising that stuff. I'm amazed,” said one woman who works in the area. “I think it just showed up today. It wasn’t there yesterday.”

News4Jax tried to get some answers Wednesday by calling the “866” number on the sign.

“Congrats, you pre-qualify for a medical cannabis license” is the recording callers hear.

After two calls, a man on the other end of the line explained that the company, Florida Compassionate Youth, provides a license -- for a membership fee -- so a patient can go to a doctor's appointment to get a medical marijuana prescription for an illness.

“We currently have two memberships available, which is a silver and gold membership,” the male operator said. “Silver costs $199 for sign up and $10 a month after that, and the gold costs $699 for sign up and $20 per month after that.”

But according to the Florida Health Department's website, no such license is required to obtain a medical marijuana prescription.

To qualify for medical marijuana in Florida:

  • A patient must have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition.
  • A patient must be a Florida resident.
  • If under the age of 18, a patient must have a second physician agree to the use in order to obtain an order from a qualified physician.
  • A patient must have tried other treatments without success.
  • An ordering physician must determine the risks of use are reasonable in light of the benefit to the patient.
  • A patient must be registered with the Compassionate Use Registry by their ordering physician.
  • A patient must be receiving treatment from a qualified ordering physician during the immediate preceding 3 months prior to an order being placed.

None of those requirements involves needing a license to see a doctor qualified to prescribe medical marijuana.

ONLINE: List of doctors who can prescribe medical marijuana

News4Jax checked with the Health Department, and we were told that Florida Compassionate Youth is not one of the state's seven approved dispensing organizations.

For a list of qualified dispensaries and physicians who can prescribe medical marijuana in Florida, go to http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/office-of-compassionate-use.

The Florida Attorney General’s Office is looking into the company and the “Legal Weed” advertisements. Anyone who has called the 866 number is asked to report it on the AG's website

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