Patients seeking medical marijuana in the north Tampa Bay area no longer have to drive to Clearwater to access the closest dispensary. Trulieve
, Florida’s first and largest licensed cannabis treatment company, opened a new store in New Port Richey earlier this month. The latest location is the first dispensary in Pasco County.
“New Port Richey was a great location for us because we already have three Bay Area locations,” says Victoria Walker, communication director at Trulieve. “The patient base here is really robust so, for patients who live further north, this gives them a place closer to home. They don't have to drive so far south to Tampa or Clearwater.”
Trulieve's cannabis-based products are designed for inhalation, oral consumption, and topical application. Patients who have been prescribed medical marijuana by a one of the 1,300 certified doctors in Florida can purchase products using their state-issued ID card.
Before the New Port Richey location, patients in Pasco County had to drive to Hillsborough or Pinellas County to get to the nearest dispensary
, or alternatively pay Trulieve's $25 delivery fee.
Over 112,000 Floridians have been registered as medical marijuana patients since the state approved legislation in 2016. Patients with conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, and PTSD qualify for medical marijuana cards. Although medical marijuana is available in 29 states, it remains illegal under federal law.
Trulieve opened its first store in July 2016 and quickly made plans to expand. But in summer 2017, Florida passed a law that limits the number of dispensaries for each business to 25. Walker pointed out that the company already has plans to develop more than 25 stores and claims that such a ruling has the consequence of limiting patient access to treatment options.
The company is now filing a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Health, asking a judge to give Trulieve an exemption.
Read more on medical marijuana from 83 Degrees: Managing symptoms: Medical marijuana emerges as growth industry in Florida