Aging population prompts growth
of medical marijuana dispensaries
Corporate spokesman Todd Beckwith inspects pharmaceutical grade marijuana for distribution at AltMed Florida’s MÜV dispensaries.
In Port St. Lucie, the grass and weed discussed on the golf
course or at the office usually pertains to yards. Increasingly,
however, people are talking about medical marijuana
and the growing number of dispensaries that sell it.
Port St. Lucie voters helped fellow Floridians overwhelmingly
approve Amendment 2 in 2016, expanding access to
full-strength marijuana for medicinal use. State-certified
doctors who may prescribe medical marijuana followed soon
after, along with Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers. These
are state-approved dispensaries — cannabis pharmacies, in
effect — where qualified patients may purchase a variety of
products targeting specific symptoms and conditions.
The median age for Florida’s half-million registered medical
marijuana patients is 48. With 20% of Port St. Lucie’s
population in the 65-and-up bracket, its demographics make
the city an attractive location for dispensaries.
Before opening a branch, the area’s first dispensary, Liberty
Health Services looked at the number of doctors in the city
who were on the state’s approved list for medical marijuana,
currently 29, as well as other statistical data. Four other
dispensaries also call Port St. Lucie home, with another 300
locations scattered throughout the state.
CLOSE TO HOME
Dispensaries were added to the City of Port St. Lucie’s zoning
code in July and August 2017. Although they share some
of the same regulations as traditional pharmacies, additional
restrictions and zoning changes were approved unanimously.
“The city recognized that the voters took a position on the
statewide medical marijuana issue and it was up to us to
make the necessary changes to the zoning code,” communication
director Sarah Prohaska says. “ There was no opposition.”
Port St. Lucie dispensaries are required to have extensive
security systems and operate a minimum of 500 feet
from schools. Loitering and on-site consumption of medical
marijuana products are prohibited. And although dispensa- >>
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