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Clearwater Gets State's Second Medical Pot Dispensary

  The Tampa Bay area's first medical marijuana dispensary opened Thursday morning and it will only be a matter of weeks before another local shop opens.

Patients who are prescribed medical marijuana can buy pills, oils, and other products at Trulieve's store on U.S. 19 in Clearwater.

CEO Kim Rivers said a lot of thought went into where to the company opened this dispensary and another one that will open in Tampa within 60 days.

“We've received overwhelming support from the physician community here in the Clearwater area and then because of its central location and also its location to preeminent medical facilities, we felt like it was a great next location for us," Rivers said.

She says the company hopes to open 9 more dispensaries in Florida over the next year, in places including Orlando, Bradenton, St. Petersburg, and Miami. Trulieve opened the state's first dispensary in Tallahassee last month.

Trulieve will have low-THC and whole plant, high THC medical cannabis available. These products are available to patients listed on the Florida Department of Health’s Compassionate Use Registry. Patients must be registered after visiting with a physician and are eligible if they suffer from epilepsy, severe seizures or muscle spasms, cancer, or are deemed “terminally ill.”

“As a physician I feel it is my duty to ensure patients are given all the options available, so I am very pleased that medical cannabis is now an industry recognized course of treatment I can recommend for my appropriate patients,” Dr. Kathy L. Anderson, said in the release.

A 2014 law allows the company to sell low-THC cannabis oil to patients who suffer from cancer, chronic muscle spasms and seizures. Another law, passed during the most recent legislative session, allows terminally ill patients to use full-strength marijuana.

Trulieve delivers statewide.

Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.