A new era will sprout in Florida next week when the Sunshine State's first medical marijuana dispensary opens.
After a two and a half year push, the Trulieve dispensary is set to open in Tallahassee Tuesday. The dispensary will provide medical marijuana to customers who are on an official state registry. Patients who want to be on the state’s registry must consult with physicians who have passed a course on medical marijuana.
“We’re on the cusp of a new era in the state of Florida and for the cannabis industry nationwide,” CEO of Trulieve Kim Rivers told local ABC affiliate WTXL Thursday. “Florida is one of the largest states in the country, so I think that this really is a game-changer and a tilting point for the national conversation.”
In order to start dispensing, Rivers said Trulieve went through a 2,000-page technical application and Health Department inspections, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. Rivers said her company plans to open other dispensaries in the state.
The center will dispense medical marijuana that has low levels of THC, the active chemical in cannabis. When the 2014 law was being debated, advocates stressed that medicinal marijuana would help patients suffering from cancer and seizures, the Miami Herald reported.
Donna Perez, the parent of a young child suffering from intractable epilepsy and severe seizures, told the Miami Herald she would take advantage of the state’s new dispensary.
“Maybe he can function for a day or not have seizures for a day or not choke,” she said. “Even if it doesn’t work it would be worth a try.”
The Trulieve dispensary is connected to a nursery that grows the plants and is allowed to deliver its products across the state. Florida has authorized several other marijuana plant growing facilities paving the way for medical marijuana across the large state. Five additional facilities are expected to open in coming months.
Florida’s current law allows for the sale of cannabis oil that can be consumed as a pill, injection or vapor. Terminally ill patients will gain access to potent medical marijuana in August but will first need the approval of two physicians.
The state is set to vote in November over wider access to full-strength medical marijuana for a variety of patients.