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Medical Marijuana Dispensary Could Open In Tampa As Soon As Next Week

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

A new medical marijuana dispensary could be up and running in Tampa as soon as next week.

The Tampa location on North Dale Mabry Highway is owned by the company Trulieve. It will join the company's other dispensaries in Clearwater and Tallahassee.

Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers says some Tampa residents already get medical marijuana delivered to their homes. But she says brick-and-mortar dispensaries allow patients to avoid paying delivery fees and get increased access to education.

“If a patient has questions about how a particular product works, or is having issues with a particular product, they have the ability to come in and have a face-to-face conversation with our patient consultants,” Rivers said.

Stores also serve as regional distribution hubs for the company.

“For us to have a home base [in areas like Tampa] to be able to deliver from, we’ll be able to make more deliveries in the surrounding area on a more regular basis, and the wait time for deliveries will be much shorter,” Rivers said.

The company has plans to expand to several more cities in Florida. Construction is set to begin shortly on a location in Bradenton that Rivers hopes will open in two months.

Floridians wanting medical marijuana won’t be able to just walk into these new dispensaries and get it. Certified doctors are the only ones who can authorize marijuana as medication.

“We are not physicians and we don't purport to be physicians,” Rivers said. “We're there to fill those orders in a compliant and responsible manner.”

State law requires patients to spend at least 90 days in the treatment of a doctor who is registered and trained in the use of medical marijuana. The state department of health has a list of accepted physicians on its website.

Copyright 2017 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Stephanie Colombini joined WUSF Public Media in December 2016 as Producer of Florida Matters, WUSF’s public affairs show. She’s also a reporter for WUSF’s Health News Florida project.