The first medical marijuana store in Florida will open next week in Tallahassee following the authorization from the Florida Department of Health.
The name of Florida's first medical marijuana store is Trulieve. According to the company's CEO, Kim Rivers, they are happy to announce that Trulieve passed all inspections from growing, processing and dispensing medical cannabis. So far, six companies in Florida have received approval for marijuana cultivation for future distribution.
"We are most excited to get this much anticipated medicine to the patients of Florida," added Rivers. Trulieve is the very first provider of medical marijuana in Florida to receive all the required formal authorizations.
By next week, Trulieve will sell low-THC cannabis products, which are designed to treat illnesses such as epilepsy. In August, the company will start selling higher THC cannabis products, which are meant for patients who have terminal illnesses, based on Florida law.
Surterra Therapeutics is the first company in Florida that received authorization to harvest medical marijuana. Reports said the company has marijuana stored in freezers located outside Tallahassee. Horticulturalists are in charge of facility maintenance where armed guards are protecting the said containers.
According to Surterra's medical director, Dr. Joseph Dorn, Florida's medical field is a "very exciting place" right now. The excitement is not just about a new medication but also the transformation of people's mindsets toward patient treatments.
While the state has a very large support for medical marijuana, not all of Florida's top policymakers back its legalization. One of them is Governor Rick Scott who has been vocal about his opposition to the legalization of medical marijuana, which he compared to other vices such as alcohol.
"Having seen the terrible [effects] of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it," said Scott a few years ago. But the people's vote seemed enough to change Scott's mind, who also signed the medical marijuana expansion in the state this year.
The legalization of medical marijuana is also popular outside of Florida. In a 2015 Harris poll, findings showed that 81 percent of U.S. citizens support its legalization across the country.
To date, there are 25 states and DC that have enacted law toward the legalization of medical marijuana, namely Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
In November, more states are expected to have a vote toward the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana.