November 16, 2017
By: Veronica Brezina and Susan Lundine
Orlando Business Journal
Orange County’s Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to allow medical cannabis dispensaries in unincorporated areas beginning Jan. 1.
The board approved the cultivating and processing of medical marijuana in unincorporated Orange County on Tuesday night, Nov. 14, to honor the home rule on Florida legalizing medical marijuana.
“I think we should also have a discussion about our legislative agenda and whether we want to make this clear as a board that we don’t think that this honors local home rule,” said Orange County Mayor Theresa Jacobs.
Commissioner Pete Clarke said the county needs to respect the law of the land. Medical marijuana, he said, “is the law of the land, the law of the state of Florida. To not implement a law passed by the voters goes against everything I’ve grown up being taught,” The Orlando Sentinel reported.
According to the board, the dispensaries must meet several requirements, including:
- A valid state license
- A 500-foot distance from schools
- Only dispense between 7 a.m.-9p.m.
- Complying with state-approved security measures
Dispensaries are banned in several Central Florida cities in Orange County, such as Winter Park, Winter Garden and Apopka.
See the photo gallery for a look at Knox Medical’s dispensary in Orlando.
The dispensary number is capped at 25 until 2020, Attorney Tara Tedrow, co-chair of the cannabis and controlled substances group at Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed law firm, told Orlando Business Journal. The new law says cities and counties either can ban dispensaries or allow them, but they would have to treat them exactly like a pharmacy, and pharmacies can go just about anywhere, she said. “There can be visible dissatisfaction with having dispensaries in a community, but as the industry grows and we see more dispensaries in communities, they may not see it as intrusive as they were thought to be on the front end.”
Tedrow added that the dispensaries likely will go where there are large patient populations and be very accessible. However, if a local government does ban a medical marijuana center, it only can block a brick-and-mortar center. The dispensaries still can deliver to patients at their homes. Any licensed facility can grow, process, dispense and transport the products.
Today, there are currently 13 approved medical marijuana centers in the state. The number of total centers is capped at 25 until 2020.
There are more than 36,000 registered patients in the state, and when the count goes to 100,000, the department will issue more licensees.
The dispensaries in the state, along with their current or soon-to-open locations, include:
- 3 Boys Farm, in Ruskin
- Aphria, online
- Curaleaf, in Miami, Kendall
- GrowHealthy, in Lake Wales
- Keith St. Germain Nursery Farms, in Homestead
- Knox Medical, in Orlando, Winter Garden, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Lake Worth, Tallahassee
- Loop’s Nursery & Greenhouses Inc., in Jacksonville
- Plants of Ruskin Inc., in Ruskin
- Sunbulb Co. Inc., in Arcadia
- Surterra Therapeutics, in Tampa, Tallahassee
- The Green Solution, online
- Treadwell Nursery, in Eustis
- Trulieve, in Orlando, Edgewater, The Villages, Deland, Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Palm Bay, Gainesville, Vero Beach, Bradenton, Fort Meyers, Jacksonville, Lady Lake, Miami, Pensacola, Tallahassee
Central Florida’s medical marijuana clinics include:
- Bernard Cannabis Center, in Daytona Beach
- Canna-Doctor, in Lake Mary
- Coherence Wellness, in Winter Garden
- Comprehensive Health Center of Orlando, in Orlando
- DoctorsRx Medical Marijuana Centers, in Orlando
- Dr. Godson, in Orange City
- eDocGreen, in Orlando, Lake Mary, Winter Park
- Green Health, in Longwood
- Green Relief, in Kissimmee
- Medical Cannabis Clinics of Florida, in Kissimmee
- Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics of Florida, in Longwood and Lakeland
- NuproMed, in Maitland
- Orlando 420 Doctor, in Orlando
- Prixus Medical, in Orlando
- Sandlake Medical Walkin Clinic, in Orlando
Medical marijuana in Florida is legal for patients with one of the following medical conditions:
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- A terminal condition diagnosed by a doctor other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification.
- Other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind for which a physician believes the medical use of marijuana likely would outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.