Effective June 12, 2023, a significant change will be implemented to Medical Marijuana Laws in Florida regarding the process for people seeking caregivers, requiring some applicants to submit fingerprints for background checks.
In the email release from the Office of Medical Marijuana (OMMU) on Friday, May 26, the changes are outlined in section 381.986(6)(b)6., Florida Statutes and the Department of Health's Emergency Rule 64ER23-2.
They will now require all non-close relatives applying for a caregiver MMUR identification card to complete a level 2 background screening, and according to section 381.986(9), Florida Statutes, must be done through a Livescan Service Provider.
Florida Statute Section 381.986(1)(c) defines a “close relative” as “a spouse, parent, sibling, grandparent, child, or grandchild, whether related by whole or half blood, by marriage, or by adoption.”
What is a Livescan background check?
According to the OMMU, Livescan Service Providers are businesses that use a device that electronically takes your fingerprints and other information. The Livescan Service Provider then uploads that information to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) which in turn sends them to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a fingerprint background check.
So how does this change affect the application process for new caregivers? What about existing ones looking to renew their caregiver status?
Close relatives seeking to be a new caregiver after June 12 will be required to submit the Close Relative Acknowledgment Form (CRAF) to the OMMU by email at MMUR_Applications@FLHealth.gov or by mail to P.O. Box 7618, Tallahassee, FL 32314, where it will be reviewed.
If approved, the caregiver applicant will receive an email from the OMMU letting them know that they can now move forward with the application process for their MMUR ID card.
Non-close relatives seeking new caregiver status however, will have to submit a Caregiver Background Screening Acknowledgment and Information form to the OMMU via the same email as above. The background screening process won't be able to move forward until that form has been received by the OMMU.
The non-close relative will then move on to submit a full set of fingerprints to a Livescan Service Provider, providing the Livescan Provider with the ORI number FL924890Z. You can locate a Livescan Service Provider near you here.
If the non-close relative applicant passes the background screening, the caregiver applicant will then also receive an email urging them to complete the application process for their MMUR ID card.
When it comes to renewal applications, the process is the same as the steps listed above for both close relatives and non-close relatives, respectively.
The release states that the fingerprints of all caregivers required to undergo the level 2 background screening will be retained in the Applicant Fingerprint Retention and Notification Program (AFRNP), and requires an annual fee of $6.00 that will be the caregiver's responsibility to submit. However, there is no fee for the first year of participation.
The OMMU will notify caregivers at least 30 calendar days prior to the date the annual retention fee is due. The OMMU also states that non-close relative caregiver applications may take longer to be reviewed and or approved than those of close relative caregiver applicants.
For more information on applying for a caregiver MMUR ID card, visit the OMMU’s website at KnowTheFactsMMJ.com/patients/cards. For more information on caregivers and the background screening process, click here.
Article by Rachael Volpe