The first legal medical marijuana dispensary in Florida, Truelieve, opened this week in Tallahassee, Florida.
Truelieve conducted the first-ever transaction of its kind in Florida with Dallas Nagy. Florida’s first medical marijuana patient traveled approximately 200 miles from the Tampa area to reach the Tallahassee dispensary. He seemed eager to receive his medication after the long trip. “Where’s my stuff?” Nagy said jokingly in front of reporters at Trulieves’s public opening.
Although Trulieve initially received approval to distribute marijuana to patients over two years ago, administrative delays prevented their doors from opening earlier. Currently, Truelieve will only dispense non-flower forms of marijuana such as oils, tinctures, capsules, and topicals. Additionally, low-THC and high-CBD forms of marijuana will only be available at first. Truelieve expects to have marijuana with higher levels of THC available next month for patients with terminal conditions. According to Florida’s Office of Compassionate Use, patients will need two doctors to recommend higher THC dosage.
“It took way too long and there were too many delays but we are finally full speed ahead,” State senator Rob Bradley said.
Dispensaries in 19 cities are expected to open within the year in Florida. This could reduce long trips for patients such as Nagy’s. Proximity to shops is often a concern for medical marijuana patients especially when states first launch their programs. Sick patients often struggle to make long trips to dispensaries. This may be especially true in Florida, as the Sunshine State is known for its large senior population.
Currently, the list of qualifying conditions includes epilepsy, chronic seizures, muscle spasms, and cancer. Patients are required to have a 90-day relationship with a physician before medical marijuana can be recommended. There are only 25 doctors that are permitted to recommend marijuana in Florida at this time.
Florida should present an interesting field case for legalization. Recent reports have highlighted a drop in opiate and pharmaceutical abuse in states with legalized marijuana. There has been a drop in costs associated with Medicare in those states. This could prove to be a tremendous benefit in Florida.