Digging through medical marijuana's legal weeds: Florida's medical marijuana industry booms despite regulations - Jacksonville Business Journal

Digging through medical marijuana’s legal weeds: Florida’s medical marijuana industry booms despite regulations – Jacksonville Business Journal

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Two years ago, Trulieve opened the first medical marijuana dispensary in Florida. ¶ Almost one year ago, it opened Jacksonville’s first dispensary. ¶ Now, the Gadsden County-based company is experiencing a growth explosion, despite what they say are onerous state regulations and a nebulous legal environment. ¶ Although Florida residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing medical marijuana in 2016, turning those votes into an industry has been a process been fraught with legal challenges. ¶ On the growing side, Jacksonville-based Loop’s Nursery & Greenhouses had to wage a three-year-long legal fight with the state over a cultivation license, which was settled in its favor in August. On the dispensing side, Trulieve is just embarking on a challenge to the number of dispensaries the state will allow — a challenge stemming from the demand it has seen since it opened the doors at its first location, in Tallahassee, in 2016. “It was quite a journey,” said Victoria Walker , Trulieve’s community relations director. The company is expected to open its 14th location, which will be on the Treasure Coast, in the coming weeks, with 11 more dispensaries planned. Trulieve isn’t alone, with Florida witnessing a green rush of patients, doctors and providers. There are almost 100,000 registered users in the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use database. More than 2,500 licenses are processed each week and the average approval process takes about three weeks. By 2020, Florida’s medical marijuana industry could be worth more than $1.6 billion and support more than 400,000 patients, according to Arcview Market Research. Trulieve, one of the 13 recognized medical marijuana treatment centers, said it serves more than 1,000 patients a week. The company is one of two serving the First Coast. The area’s second dispensary is operated on Jacksonville’s Southside […]

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