State Sets Rules for Caregivers of Medical Marijuana Patients

Dr. Barry Gordon

Editor’s note: This commentary is provided by the Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI) of Florida A&M University.

      If you were the caregiver of an elderly parent in Florida, you would be able to pick up prescription drugs and administer them to your mother or father as ordered by their physician. You also would be allowed to discuss their medical conditions and treatments with their healthcare providers.

But when it comes to overseeing the healthcare of someone being treated with medical marijuana, the State of Florida takes a much stricter approach to the caregiver-patient relationship to ensure responsible use.

“They have to actually receive a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card, just as the patient does,” says Donna Sachse, a certified nursing assistant and office manager of Compassionate Cannabis Clinic, one of the largest medical marijuana treatment facilities in Florida.

Founded by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Barry Gordon, Compassionate Cannabis Clinic has served more than 5,000 patients at its Venice and Fort Myers office locations. Dr. Gordon is a leading advocate of patient and caregiver education on all things medical cannabis.

Caregivers, he says, “need to have as much, if not more, education than the patient themselves in order to be a success in the program.”

To become a registered caregiver of a medical marijuana patient (only one caregiver per patient, with some exceptions, such as parents or guardians of a minor), you have to be at least 21 years old, a resident of the state, take the caregiver certification course and fill out an application with FDOH’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use. Applicants who aren’t a close relative of the patient must also pass a background check.

The rules also state that “a caregiver must not be a qualified physician and not be employed by or have an economic interest in a medical marijuana treatment center or a marijuana testing laboratory.”

“Because that’s a conflict of interest,” explains Sachse.

Visit to watch MMERI’s Conversations on Cannabis Virtual Forum on YouTube featuring Dr. Barry Gordon, Chief Medical Officer and Founder of Compassionate Cannabis Clinic, and Donna Sachse, a certified nursing assistant and office manager of Compassionate Cannabis Clinic.

     For more information on medical marijuana and to sign up for the MMERI newsletter, go to

About Carma Henry 20904 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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