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© 2017 MERRY JANE. All Rights Reserved.

What to Expect From Florida’s First Medical Marijuana Dispensary

The Sunshine State has finally warmed up to the idea of medical marijuana.

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As someone who lived in the state of Florida for almost half of his entire life, I can tell you from personal experience that the fight against marijuana prohibition has been long-fought and met with serious opposition. But, this week, the Sunshine State will finally take the leap towards legalizing medicinal use of cannabis. On Tuesday, Trulieve, one of the six Florida medical cannabis licensees thus far, will officially open the first-ever dispensary in the state, marking a major moment in the state’s fight to medicinally legalize the use of marijuana.

Back in 2014, the state failed to vote through the “Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, Amendment 2”. Although 57.6% of voters were in favor of the medical marijuana initiative, Florida law requires that constitutional amendments receive at least 60% approval to pass. Still, the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 did allow Florida patients suffering from epilepsy, seizure disorders, or certain cancers to take medicinal marijuana

But, despite strong pushback from anti-marijuana lobbyist and casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, Trulieve managed to come to an agreement with Florida Department of Health to begin distributing medical cannabis to the state’s applicable patients. Last week, they officially received a formal Authorization to Process and Authorization to Dispense, making Trulieve the first-ever dispensary to open in the state of Florida.

“We are happy to announce that we have passed all inspections — from growing and processing to dispensing — and are the very first medical cannabis provider in the state to receive these formal authorizations. And we are most excited to get this much anticipated medicine to the patients of Florida,” said Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers.

The new dispensary intends to begin operating out of their Tallahassee-Based facility in the coming days, and will begin statewide delivery as soon as the operation is underway. The dispensary has also unveiled plans to begin operating in three additional Florida cities The authorization will enable Trulieve to begin providing Low-THC Cannabis products at first, and High-THC Cannabis sometime in early August.

Florida patients looking to obtain an order to purchase Low-THC or High-THC Cannabis should contact a physician able to issue the proper order. Trulieve provides a number of resources to help patients along the way. Although only one dispensary will be authorized to open at first, November 8 will prove to be a pivotal day for future of medical cannabis in Florida. On that day, voters will once again take a look at Amendment Two, which will aim to broaden medical cannabis usage to patients with "debilitating" medical conditions certified by a licensed physician, essentially making the strict current requirements more lax.