Clicky

(888) 908-0143
English Spanish

Hurricanes and MMJ: What Patients Need to Know to Prepare

Hurricanes and MMJ Florida DocMJ

The only downside to living in the Sunshine State is hurricane season.  If you have been a long-time resident of Florida, you are probably used to the drill. But if you have just moved to Florida, and this is your first hurricane season, you may be wondering what to do. Hurricanes and MMJ require some advanced planning.

It is never fun to watch the weather report and see your area may be impacted by a hurricane. But preparation before a hurricane reaches landfall is critically important.  Our team at DocMJ has plans to support our patients and help ensure the safety of our staff in Tampa, Florida, and surrounding areas. 

And it is important to know what dispensaries plan to do, in the event of a natural disaster. We contacted some local dispensaries to help provide more information for our patients.  Because your hurricane planning may also include visiting the dispensary to “stock up” if dispensaries are required to close for safety reasons. 

If you are a Florida patient needing medical marijuana for symptom management, here are some important tips you can use to avoid problems.  And ensure that you have access to the cannabis products you rely on.

1. Will DocMJ Clinics in Florida Be Closed?

DocMJ serves patients from twenty-five (25) medical clinics located across the state of Florida.  Depending on the trajectory of a hurricane and expected landfall locations, our disaster plan requires that we put the safety of our patients and staff first. 

If the clinic is located in an area that may be at risk from hurricane conditions, we will close the clinic.  At that time, all patients with scheduled appointments will be contacted to inform them of our office closure.  Our team will also work to reschedule your medical card health evaluation at the earliest possible date. 

2. Hurricanes and MMJ: How Can I Reschedule my DocMJ Appointment?

Patients who want to reschedule their appointment until after the weather warning has passed have a fast and easy online option.  Simply log into your DocMJ patient portal, find your appointment, and then request a new date. 

Our team will provide an email confirmation of the rescheduled appointment for you.  If you do not have access to reschedule your appointment online, you can also contact us for assistance.  Our support team will be ready to help. 

Here are the steps to reschedule your appointment online:

DocMJ Reschedule Appointment Online

3. Can I Stock Up On Medical Marijuana?

Depending on your home quantity, you may want to visit your local dispensary.  Purchasing a little more than you usually pick up may help you plan ahead in the event that dispensaries remain closed due to hurricane conditions.

Patients should be aware of the rolling limit when it comes to quantities purchased ahead of time.  You do not want to purchase a large amount and then find that you do not have enough medical cannabis to last until your next qualified purchase. 

When planning for your medical needs, hurricanes, and MMJ, remember that new purchase limitations were enacted in September 2022, which may impact patients with new doctor recommendations and medical cards.  Learn more information about the medical cannabis Emergency Order purchase limitations.

The Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) provides an online calculator where patients can see how much they have purchased within their 35-day rolling limit.  It will help you calculate how much medical marijuana you can buy when you visit the dispensary. 

Click here to get instructions to use the OMMU online calculator. 

4. What Kind of Medical Cannabis Should I Purchase?

Depending on your health conditions, you may be limited to non-inhalable types of medical cannabis.  But there are many other products that are easier to use and portable in the event you need to leave your home for safety reasons. 

If you have to evacuate your home and check into a hotel during a hurricane, the type of medical cannabis you choose is important.  Remember, whether you have a medical card or not, you will not be permitted to smoke or vape in a hotel room.  

Edibles are convenient because they are provided in a waterproof and sealable container.  They are lightweight and easy to transport, and you do not have to pack accessories to continue your daily use.  Tinctures (sublingual uptake or drops under the tongue) are fast-acting and convenient for patients. Lozenges and capsules may also be a preference for some patients.  

5. What Will Dispensaries Be Doing About Hurricanes and MMJ?

For the safety of the patients, many medical dispensaries will close for a period of a few days.  Again, this depends on the location of the dispensary and how hurricane conditions may impact the area.  

We reached out to some local dispensaries who provided information for us to share with our patients.  

Truilieve has announced that it will be keeping dispensary locations open for patients. The dispensaries will be providing “Stock Up and Stay Safe” discounts for patients. Call your local dispensary before traveling to determine stock, as dispensaries are anticipating higher-than-average purchases in days leading up to any inclement weather event or hurricane.

Cannabist Florida Dispensary Hurricane

“We ensure we have plenty of inventory in stock for patients who need to prepare and stock up before the storm.  We will also close our stores when necessary to keep employees and customers safe.

Be prepared! Storms are unpredictable, so have at least a week’s worth of medication.  Opt into messaging from your local dispensary to know when they have to close and when they will reopen.”  

Liberty health dispensary Florida hurricane

“We take pride in communicating with our patients regularly, ensuring they are always aware of new additions to our menus, the latest deals and promotions, in-store events, and more. Living in Florida, we all know the drill of preparing for a hurricane, which includes ensuring an ample supply of water, batteries, and other essentials like medications. 

We encourage our patients to stock up several days before a storm arrives to ensure they are prepared and can avoid any last-minute chaos. Patients can order online or come by one of our 50 plus stores throughout the state for a quick and easy experience.”

Rise Cannabis dispensary Florida

“As you prepare for the Hurricane, please remember:

  • Have enough Medicine for 3 – 7 days
  • Store in a cool, dry place
  • We may close early for our teams and patients to be safely with their families

Important updates about our stores will be shared via email and on the Rise Cannabis social media pages.”

Preparing for Florida Hurricane Conditions at Home 

If you decide to stay at home during a hurricane, assess the safety of your location.  Watch your local news to determine if there are evacuation orders in effect for your local area.  Consider your safest options if your home is located near a body of water in a flood zone. 

When a hurricane strikes, weather conditions and flood risks can change quickly.  Loss of power and water is very common due to storm damage.  Before the hurricane hits landfall, there are many ways to prepare yourself for the unexpected effects of a Florida hurricane. 

Preparation Checklist

  • Purchasing and store fresh drinking water in your residence.
  • Ensure that you have non-electric light sources, including LED flashlights and batteries.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items.  Double-check that you have a manual can opener!  
  • Get a quantity of pet food for your companion (to last at least one week).
  • Have a battery-operated radio in the event, you cannot charge your phone.
  • Keep battery banks fully charged to recharge cell phones and tablets. 
  • Have a propane grill (and full tank) to cook meals if electrical power is unavailable. 
  • Pack a bag of clothing, personal essential items, and prescription medications.  Where possible, pack your items in a plastic or zip lock bag to prevent water damage. 
  • Have an emergency power generator if possible. 
  • Fill up your vehicle at the gas station.  Keep your tank full in the event you have to evacuate.  And if you don’t drive, have a plan for a family member or friend to pick you up.

Remember, if water levels rise around your home, don’t hesitate to move to a safer location.  Flood conditions can change very quickly.  Have your safe evacuation plan ready, and know where you will go (and how you will get to safety) in the event you must leave your home.

Hurricanes and MMJ Patients: Online Resources for Disaster Response in Florida

The Emergency Management Division in Florida has a website (floridadisaster.org). Bookmark the website on your mobile device for more tips and weather updates for your local region. 

The website has an interactive map called “Know Your Zone.”  This provides critical information for Florida residents to help them decide whether there is a safety risk.  And if temporary evacuation is the best option. 

The key for hurricanes and MMJ is to make sure you don’t wait to visit your local dispensary. Anticipate that other patients may be stocking up too, and you may have a lineup at the dispensary. Have a plan.  Know your resources.  Prepare in advance, and make sure you put your safety first when navigating the Florida hurricane season.