Those seeking medical cannabis in Florida have a lot to be happy about. Trulieve, Florida’s first legally approved medical cannabis dispensary, made their first delivery to a patient over this past weekend. Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve, reported that the first patient was a resident from Hudson, FL who suffers from Dystonia. Chronic muscle spasms and seizures are the most common symptoms of dystonia.
Trulieve received authorization from the state of Florida to legally operate last week along with Hackney Nursery, who is the dispensing organization for Northwest Florida. Trulieve is planning to formally open their doors for business tomorrow at their retail location in Tallahassee.
Doctors are required to be registered with the state of Florida prior to certifying patients to use medical cannabis. As of now only 15 doctors have registered with the state. Patients must be diagnosed with cancer, epilepsy, chronic seizures or chronic muscle spasms to qualify for medical cannabis. Patients were left to wait for new businesses to navigate rough legal waters after a 2014 law provided a path to legal access.
Unlike many other places, dispensing organizations are allowed to deliver medicine directly to patients homes. Six approved organizations have been approved to cultivate medical cannabis, but Trulieve has been the only to achieve authorization to actually dispense medicine. Florida’s Office of Compassionate Use estimates the state will be home to 18 dispensaries when the program is fully operational.
Initially Trulieve will offer patients concentrated oil, tinctures, gel capsules and vape cartridges. The law which authorized legal access only specifically allowed for low-THC products, but are allowed to be high in CBD. THC is the chemical which is responsible for the high or euphoric effect of cannabis. THC is known jokingly as “the-high-causer.”
This past March the Florida legislature approved an extension of the Right to Try law, which allows terminally ill patients to receive high-THC cannabis. High-THC cannabis is what is most commonly found in both the legal and underground cannabis marketplace.
Another medical cannabis company located in Southwest Florida, Alpha-Surterra, has completed their first harvest and is currently awaiting certification from the government to open for business.
Today medical cannabis is being legally delivered to homes in Florida, and residents will soon be offered the ability to expand the program in November. In 2014 a similar measure failed to pass by just 2%, so hopes are high for passage of the expansion measure this time around!
Photo Credit: Kayvan Khalatbari