Florida's first medical marijuana will be available next Tuesday


After two years of waiting, patients in Florida will finally be able to obtain medical marijuana next Tuesday. 

The Tallahassee grower and dispensary Trulieve announced Wednesday that they are the first dispensary in the state to receive formal authorization from the Florida Department of Health to begin dispensing medical marijuana low in THC, the chemical that causes the "high" feeling. This version of medical marijuana was approved in 2014 by the Florida Legislature under the "Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act" for patients with cancer or a medical condition that causes chronic seizures or muscle spasms. 

"We are happy to announce that we have passed all inspections— from growing and processing to dispensing— and are the very first medical cannabis provider in the state to receive these formal authorizations. And we are most excited to get this much anticipated medicine to the patients of Florida," says Kim Rivers, CEO for Trulieve, in a statement. "The Department of Health staff and leadership have been consummate professionals throughout this entire process. They have been accessible and knowledgeable all along the way, and we simply could not ask for better public servants."

In an interview with Orlando Weekly, Rivers says the products will be sold to patients in a processed form through different mediums, such as capsules, syringes, tinctures and vaporizers. At a press conference on Tuesday in Tallahassee, Rivers says Trulieve will conduct its first transaction with a patient and then open the dispensary up for deliveries to patients across Florida. 

Rivers says patients have to be on the state Health Department's patient registry, which requires a state-approved licensed physician to put patients on the list. She adds that full-strength medical marijuana high in THC for terminally ill patients approved under the state's "Right to Try Act" will be available in August. 

"We're very excited," she says. "This is a historic moment for us and for patients who have been in need of this medicine. We're thrilled to be able to offer our products very soon throughout the state."