TAMPA, Fla. - The Florida Department of Health is urging people in the Sunshine state to be aware of potential medical marijuana scams.
In a press release, the department said it was brought to their attention that there are businesses advertising free or reduced-cost access to medical marijuana and in some cases asserting that they are the "Office of Compassionate Use" when soliciting credit card information.
The Department of Health's Office of Compassionate Use is the only agency issuing identification cards for medical marijuana in Florida. No third party is authorized to process applications.
This is a sample of what the ID cards look like:
The department also wants to let residents know that they only accept payment by check or money order by mail. They do not ask for credit card payments.
As for businesses advertising free or reduced costs, there are only seven dispensing organizations authorized to cultivate, process and dispense medical marijuana.
This map is provided by the DOH:
One of the local dispensaries authorized by the state says there are legitimate deals, and Surterra is trying to help patients avoid scammers by guiding them through the entire application process for an Id card.
The Better Business Bureau says to never feel pressured by anyone pushing something on you.
"When in doubt, hang up the phone, contact the agency directly, make sure you know who you are talking about and ask questions," said Bryan Oglesby.
The BBB has a scam tracker to track any reports of fraud across the country and here in Florida.
It also allows any consumer to share a potential fraud with others.