Department of health warns Florida residents about medical marijuana scam

Medical Marijuana Scam

A warning from Florida's Dept. of Health. A weed scam is happening in the state as medical marijuana legislation is working its way through Tallahassee.

The scam artist tries to get personal information and credit card numbers from the victim.

CBS 12 spoke to a consultant who helps patients find doctors who prescribe marijuana. He says this scam is terrible for the industry, the idea that marijuana is a phone call away is preposterous.

If you hear that free or redused cost marijuana could be available to you because of a medical condition and all you need to do is provide your credit card information or Social Security number, don't fall for it!

"It makes me feel bad because the public who are in need of medical marijuana is basically being duped by characters that are doing it --not for humanitarian reasons --or all the right reasons, they're doing to line their own pockets and they're taking advantage of the most vulnerable," said John Cato.

Cato is President of Liberate Medical Marijuana consulting services. He works from an office on Forest Hill Boulevard.

"Be sure the company has brick-and-mortar they must physically have an office," Cato said.

Cato does not cold call people, he does not put up signs on lawns.

"Be weary of those who contact you if you haven't contacted them first because in our opinion, that's the first sign of a scam," Cato said.

John serves as a liaison between patients, Florida's Office Of Compassionate Use (they are the state officials on medical marijuana) and the doctors.

"What we're doing is by the letter of the law," Cato said.

But Cato can not issue a medical marijuana ID card. The Department of Compassionate Use is the only entity that can do that. And that department does not accept credit cards as payment.

So if you see an ad or are contacted by someone saying they can help with the card, get things started by making a down payment, report the scam to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

And remember, Florida's law would prohibit tele-medicine, meaning a doctor cannot make a diagnosis and recommend marijuana over the phone -- they must see you in person.

To report scams to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352).

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