How to Become a Cannabis Caregiver in Miami, FL
If you’d like to become a cannabis caregiver in Miami, FL, there are a few things you need to know. First, there are specific rules for who qualifies as a caregiver and how treatment can be administered. Also, there are some general guidelines and best practices that all caregivers should be aware of. Once you understand the process and satisfy all the requirements, caregiving can be an extremely rewarding responsibility.
What Does a Cannabis Caregiver Do?
A cannabis caregiver is someone who purchases, possesses, and administers medical marijuana treatment on behalf of a qualifying patient. Just like patients, prospective caregivers must go through an approval process and register with the state. Registered patients and their caregivers are the only people allowed to buy cannabis from medical marijuana dispensaries in Florida.
A registered caregiver might be responsible for:
- Transporting their patient to the dispensary
- Assisting the patient with purchases
- Purchasing on behalf of the patient (with or without the patient present)
- Transporting the medical cannabis to the patient’s home
- Preparing the medical cannabis for the patient’s consumption
- Attending follow-up appointments with the patient and cannabis doctor
When visiting a Florida dispensary, the caregiver must provide both their legal state ID and their caregiver card. While the caregiver is allowed to purchase cannabis up to the legal limit, they are not allowed to consume cannabis unless they themselves have a patient card.
Who Is Eligible to Become a Cannabis Caregiver in Miami, FL?
A prospective caregiver must meet the following conditions:
- The caregiver must be at least 21 years of age.
- The caregiver must be a legal Florida resident.
- The caregiver must have only one patient in their care.
- The caregiver must register on behalf of a qualifying patient (not all medical marijuana patients qualify for caregiving services; the patient must be under 18, have a mental disability, require power of attorney, be in hospice care, or have a terminal illness).
- The caregiver must have a qualifying relationship with the patient (be a parent or legal guardian, a healthcare surrogate, or someone with power of attorney).
In addition, licensed physicians and employees at medical marijuana clinics are prohibited from providing caregiver services.
How to Become a Cannabis Caregiver in Miami, FL
If you meet the eligibility requirements to become a cannabis caregiver, the next step is to complete the registration process.
If the patient you intend to care for is already registered as a legal medical marijuana patient, you’ll need to meet with their marijuana doctor to begin the caregiver registration process. If the recipient of your care is not yet registered as a medical marijuana patient, you can handle both the patient certification and caregiver registration concurrently.
Certifying the Patient
First, the prospective patient will need to undergo a medical evaluation with a Miami marijuana doctor to determine that they have a qualifying condition and would benefit from medical cannabis—whether that means consuming marijuana for chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, or another condition. As the prospective caregiver, you can help gather any relevant medical records and drive the patient to and from their appointment.
Medverde makes this process easy: Just schedule an appointment online, complete the medical evaluation at our Miami office, and get approved the same day if the patient qualifies. We will submit the required information to the Florida Department of Health, and the patient can then receive their medical marijuana card.
If the patient is a minor, they will need to be examined by two independent physicians before eligibility can be determined. Patients under the age of 18 will only qualify for medical marijuana in Florida if they have a severe illness. Medverde specializes in pediatric cases in Miami, so we would be happy to assist if you’re acting on behalf of a qualifying minor patient.
For more information on patient certification, refer to our guide to How to Get a FL Medical Marijuana Card.
Registering as a Caregiver
As part of the patient certification process (or after), you’ll need to discuss with the doctor your intentions to serve as a caregiver. The doctor will assess your eligibility, brief you on the process, and register your email address with the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR)—a division of the Florida Department of Health. Only a doctor can enter your name into the registry.
From there, you’ll need to visit the MMUR website and complete the caregiver application. This application can be submitted online. As part of the application process, you’ll need to provide basic personal information as well as a full-face photograph and proof of residency. You’ll also need to pay the $75 fee.
Once your application is approved, you’ll receive your caregiver card. Your caregiver status must be renewed annually, and renewal applications should be submitted as early as 45 days before the date of expiration.
How to Succeed as a Cannabis Caregiver in Miami, FL
Becoming a cannabis caregiver can be a nerve-wracking process, but it doesn’t have to be. You just have to remember the essentials:
- Work closely with the physician to determine optimal dosages, strains, delivery systems, and schedules—and follow the doctor’s recommendations. If a patient is consuming marijuana for chronic pain, they might have different needs than someone consuming it for glaucoma, so always defer to the experts.
- Consider the patient’s feelings and preferences. If the patient is apprehensive about consuming cannabis, they might feel more comfortable with tinctures, gummies, or another smoke-free delivery system.
- Start small. You don’t need to administer large doses to achieve a medical benefit. Even microdoses as low as 1 to 3 milligrams of THC can be effective for many medical conditions. Keep an eye on the patient and adjust the dose as needed.
- Keep your caregiver card and your photo ID on you at all times, especially when transporting or handling cannabis.
- Speak to the patient’s physician immediately if the current products and doses aren’t delivering the desired result.
- Make sure the patient’s personal needs are met—which means going beyond medicine alone and ensuring that they have what they need to be comfortable, maintain their independence, and feel fully supported.
If you have any additional questions about becoming a cannabis caregiver in Miami, feel free to reach out to the team at Medverde. We would be happy to clear up any confusion and help you to get started.