What measures are being taken in Florida for medical marijuana patients during the Stay-At-Home order?

As the world wrestles the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that is taking place, a growing number of countries are ordering their residents to stay at home. Though the United States has advised all Americans to practice social distancing, the number of positive cases continues to rise. In result, individual States are taking action by issuing “Stay-at-Home” orders. With these orders, most businesses, unless categorized as “essential,” are required to have their employees work from their living space or shut down all together. 

On March 9th, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida issued Executive Order 20-52, which declared a State of Emergency for COVID-19. By declaring a State of Emergency, there is more flexibility and resources given to the state and local governments so they are able to prepare and respond as they see fit. Then again, for the month of April, the Governor issued a “Safer At Home” order for the month of April. This limits movement outside of homes to essential services or carrying out essential activities. 

Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC) and Florida Medical Marijuana Physicians have been designated as an essential service. DocMJ Doctors Marijuana is continuing to see patients, both in person and over the computer through Telemedicine, for medical marijuana recommendations. Many of the dispensaries are using drive through windows, online ordering, curbside pick ups, and  delivery services to get legal medical marijuana products to qualified patients during this time. The delivery drivers are required to carry a letter signed by Scott Rivkees, the Surgeon General, that states the business “performs a critical role in providing healthcare delivery services.” This letter also authorizes the drivers to travel outside of their established curfews that have been put in place during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

 

So… what IS COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals. The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

These droplets can land on objects and surfaces, and even in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community. People who have been infected by the virus are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic; however, some people who are infected show no symptoms at all. This is why the Center of Disease Control (CDC) is recommending people stay home in isolation, or in the hospital if symptoms are severe, until they feel better and no longer post a risk of infecting anyone else.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

 

Protecting and Preventing

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, so the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The Department of Health recommends everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread, including: [1]

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
  • Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Covering your cough or sneezing into a tissue, then disposing of the tissue;
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty; and
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

 

What This Means for Medical Marijuana Patients

During this time of emergency, qualified Florida Medical Marijuana Physicians are deemed as an essential service. They are allowed to conduct business as usual, as long as the correct safety and sanitation measures are taken. Additionally, Dr. Scott A. Rivkees, the Florida State Surgeon General, issued an Emergency Order that stated medical marijuana physicians are eligible to conduct telemedicine appointments. 

Before this Emergency Order, persons were required by state guidelines to be seen by their recommending physician in person for an evaluation. But with the approval of telehealth appointments, existing qualified patients with an existing recommendation from a qualified physician are allowed to be seen via video chat to renew their medical marijuana orders.

Florida DocMJ Doctors Marijuana is taking many precautions during this time. The majority of our offices are operating as usual, seeing both new patients and follow-up appointments in person for an exam. Our staff is taking extra precautions and cleaning procedures have been ramped up in order to prevent any potential spreading of diseases in our offices. We have asked our patients to stay at home for a telemedicine appointment if they are feeling ill or if they have a pre-existing health condition that makes them more at risk for complications from COVID-19. 

If you are eligible for a telemedicine appointment, you can be seen by your qualified physician through video chat. This appointment will be conducted as normal, with follow up questions about how medical marijauna is helping your condition, just in the comfort of your own home. By offering these services, DocMJ is allowing their patients to maintain their medical marijuana regimen during this pandemic by ensuring their orders are up-to-date for the ability to purchase their medicine from a qualified MMTC.

 

What are Florida MMTC’s doing in response to COVID-19?

Just as doctors offices have been deemed essential during this time, Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers have been as well. Each MMTC has modified their policies on delivery, pick up, and ways you are able to order their products.The following outlines each MMTC in Florida and their COVID-19 Procedures:

AltMed (MUV) [2]

MUV has stated that all of their facilities will remain open during this time. To reduce cash handling, they are encouraging all patients to sign up for CanPay Debit to pay for all orders. 

Ordering Ahead: MUV is encouraging patients to order online for either Express Pick Up or Delivery at http://muvfl.com/shop or by calling their Patient Care Support Team at 833-880-5420. Their locations are open from Monday through Saturday, but are closed on Sundays for deep cleaning procedures during this time.

Delivery: MUV delivers to any location within a 25 mile radius of any of their locations. Delivery orders over $150 are free. Deliveries under $150 are subject to a $20 fee.

Pick Up: Pick up is running as usual, but in the event that the store is busy, they may ask patients to return to their cars after checking in. During this time they are requesting that no guests accompany patients unless the patient requires physical assistance. 

Drive Thru: Drive Thru services are available for express pick up orders at their locations in Ft. Myers, Longwood, and Tallahassee. 

Columbia Care [3]

Ordering Ahead: Columbia Care offers ordering ahead via phone or online. To place an order and view a live inventory, visit them at https://col-care.com/fl/ and choose the location that is closest to you. 

Delivery: Columbia Care does not offer delivery services at this time.

Pick Up: Effective 3/30/2020, Columbia Care is offering curbside check-in and purchasing, They still offer inside assistance for those who prefer it but are encouraging their new curbside option.

Drive Thru: There are no Drive Thru options available at Columbia Care dispensaries.

 

Curaleaf [4]

Ordering Ahead: Order online or over the phone by choosing your dispensary location under https://curaleaf.com/stores/FL/ .Get 100 extra rewards points with express orders.

Delivery: Curaleaf offers patients free statewide delivery on purchases of $125 or more. Orders under $125 are subject to a $15 fee.

Pick Up: First hour daily will provide seniors, 60+ priority service. Curbside pick up is also available at all locations. The hours of operation will vary, please contact your local dispensary.

Drive Thru: Drive Thru pick up is available at Curaleafs Miami Airport, East Orlando, and Palm Harbor locations.

 

Fluent [5]

Ordering Ahead:  Fluent is prioritizing Express Orders. You can place your order online art https://getfluent.com/shop/ or by calling (833) 261-4396.

Delivery: Free delivery on orders $200 and over. If orders are above $500 patients will receive free delivery as well as 10% off their entire order. For orders under $200, there will be a $25 delivery fee. 

Pick Up: All Fluent locations, besides their Downtown Orlando location, are offering curbside pick up. If using the curbside pick up option, patients are only allowed to pay with CanPay or Debit Card. Fluent is not accepting cash for curbside pick up at this time.

Drive Thru: Drive-Thru Pick-up in Casselberry and New Port Richey. 

 

GrowHealthy [6]

Ordering Ahead:  Patients can order ahead via phone by calling 800-619-5299 or by visiting their website https://www.growhealthy.com/

Delivery: Free Statewide Delivery with no fee by calling 800-619-5299 and selecting option 2.

Pick Up: Curbside Pickup is available at all locations. All dispensaries will have 10 or less people (patients and employees) inside at a time.

Drive Thru: Available at Brandon and Lake Worth.

 

Harvest [7]

Ordering Ahead:  Harvest is encouraging patients to pre-order their products before coming to the store. By visiting their website https://www.harvesthoc.com/ patients can choose their location and view the menu to order.

Delivery: Harvest does not offer delivery at this time.

Pick Up: Pick Up in-store and curbside are available at Harvest locations. Harvest is asking that patients do not come in store if they are feeling ill.

Drive Thru: No Drive Thru locations are available. 

Liberty Health Sciences [8]

Ordering Ahead: Liberty Health Sciences is encouraging online ordering at this time for curbside pick-up and delivery orders.

Delivery: Free delivery is available during this time with a minimum purchase order of $50.

Pick Up: Curbside and in-store pick up is available at various Liberty Health Sciences locations. LHS is asking that patients utilize CanPay to pay for their products to limit the exchange of physical cash.

Drive Thru: No Drive Thru locations are available at this time.

 

MedMen [9]

Ordering Ahead: Express orders are not currently available.

Delivery: MedMen does not offer delivery at this time.

Pick Up: Patients can still do in-store pick up at all MedMen locations.

Drive Thru: MedMen does not offer Drive Thru pick-up services at this time.

 

OnePlant [10]

Ordering Ahead:  Qualified patients can place their One Plant order online at https://oneplant.us/ or by calling (877) 308-3344.

Delivery: One Plant offers free statewide delivery on orders over $125. For orders under $125, patients are subject to a $25 delivery fee.

Pick Up: Curbside pickup is available at One Plant locations.

Drive Thru:  There are no Drive Thru services available at One Plant at this time,

 

RiSE [11]

Ordering Ahead:  There are currently NO in-store orders allowed at this time. In an effort to keep patients and staff as safe as possible, RiSE is only allowing online and call ahead ordering at this time. Online ordering can be done on IHeartJane.com by searching for your specific RiSE location. If you are unable to place an order online, RiSE is encouraging patients to call their local store for assistance.

Delivery: Delivery is free for orders of $50 or more from their Pinellas Park, Deerfield Beach, and Hallandale Beach locations. They offer delivery to the following counties: Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Miami Dade.

Pick Up: Curbside Pick Up ONLY at all Florida locations.

Drive Thru: There are no RiSE drive thrus at this time.

 

Surterra [12]

Ordering Ahead:  Online Ordering is available at https://www.surterra.com/shop/

Delivery: Surterra is currently not offering delivery services.

Pick Up: Surterra is encouraging patients to order ahead of pick up. For in-store pick up, they are practicing proper social distancing procedures to ensure the safety of their staff and patients. Patients are encouraged to pay with CanPay.

Drive Thru: There are no Drive Thru services available at Surterra locations.

 

Trulieve [13]

Ordering Ahead:  Patients can order ahead online at https://www.trulieve.com/shop or by calling their call center at  (844) 878-5438.

Delivery: Statewide delivery is available. Patients 65 and older receive free delivery, all others are charged a $15 delivery fee.

Pick Up: Trulieve is offering “Pick Up Only” at some of their locations. These include Fort Lauderdale, Stuart, Orlando North, Tampa, Bonita Springs, Gainesville, and The Villages.  At locations that ARE allowing in-store shopping, there are no visitors or guests allowed inside, and they have reduced the amount of seating available in the waiting areas.

Drive Thru: There is currently no drive-thru option available at any Trulieve locations. 

 

VidaCann [14]

Ordering Ahead:  To order online, visit https://www.vidacann.com/order-online/ or you can place an order over the phone by calling your local VidaCann location.

Delivery: No-Contact Delivery is available statewide. Purchases over $75 qualify for free delivery, all other orders are subject to a $20 fee. Patients who use the No-Contact delivery must pay with CanPay.

Pick Up: VidaCann is offering Curbside Pick Up at all of their locations as well as normal in-store ordering.

Drive Thru: There are no Drive Thru options available at VidaCann locations.

Overall, COVID-19 has had a huge impact on normal daily life. During such a stressful time, medical marijauna is helping qualified patients stay happy and healthy by being deemed an essential service. If you think you might qualify for your medical marijuana recommendation, take a pre-qualifying survey. This survey will help determine whether or not a qualified Florida Medical Marijuana Physician can issue you a recommendation for medical marijuana in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. 

DocMJ Doctors Marijuana has taken plenty of precautions to ensure our patients receive the safest quality care possible. Book your in-person exam or telemedicine follow-up by visiting us at www.docmj.com or by calling our wonderful Patient Care Coordinators at (888) 908-0143.  

 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

[2] https://muv.altmedflorida.com/covid19

[3] https://col-care.com/florida-coronavirus-updates/

[4] https://curaleaf.com/coronavirus-updates/

[5] https://www.getfluent.com/coronavirus/

[6] https://www.growhealthy.com/covid-19/

[7] https://covid19.harvesthoc.com/florida/

[8] https://www.libertyhealthsciences.com/

[9] https://www.medmen.com/blog/medmen-news/medmen-covid-19-retail-stores-update

[10] https://oneplant.us/a-word-from-oneplant/

[11] https://risecannabis.com/covid-19-response-from-rise/

[12] https://www.surterra.com/coronavirus-update/

[13] https://www.trulieve.com/resources/updates

[14] https://vidacann.activehosted.com/index.php?action=social&c=334&m=385

[15] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

[16] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

[17]https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/03/24/is-medical-pot-essential-yes-as-florida-dispensaries-stay-open-amid-pandemic/