‘Patient demand is high’ for marijuana dispensary on Blanding Blvd.

By Nick Blank Staff Writer
Posted 5/8/19

ORANGE PARK – The sale of medical marijuana in Florida was unthinkable five years ago in Florida.

But last week customers were able to buy vape cartridges, CBD and smokable pot in various …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

‘Patient demand is high’ for marijuana dispensary on Blanding Blvd.

Posted

ORANGE PARK – The sale of medical marijuana in Florida was unthinkable five years ago in Florida.

But last week customers were able to buy vape cartridges, CBD and smokable pot in various strains and flavors at Curaleaf Orange Park at 496 Blanding Blvd, the second for the company in the Jacksonville area and the 24th in the state.

Dylan Adams, regional manager for 12 Northeast and Central Florida locations, called Curaleaf’s statewide expansion rapid. He said the company’s location Blanding Blvd. was appealing.

“The patient demand is high. It’s been tremendous,” Adams said. “The ability to have great community engagement is paramount.”

In 2016, voters passed an amendment legalizing medical marijuana. Although legislators added several stipulations, legislators finally voted to approve smokable medical marijuana in March.

The store resembles a modern cellphone store, albeit with a tight security system. Customers provide staff their ID behind a window to check in. In lieu of approaching the L-shaped counter, they can visit consultation room.

Senior operations manager Vinit Patel oversees the Tampa and St. Petersburg area for the company. Patel said the Legislature’s bill attempting to cap THC levels in products, which failed last week, would have been a lose-lose for the customers.

“It’s a matter what the consumers and patients want,” Patel said. “What that cap does is make the people buy more product to seek the same level relief.”

Patel said he favorite story to tell is why he entered the cannabis business. A pharmacist by trade, he was dismayed by the opiate epidemic, calling it the worst abuse problem in the country’s history.

He was tired watching addicted patients falling apart in a vicious cycle.

“I wasn’t feeling like we were getting anywhere, and I felt like I was part of the problem pushing out opiates to all my patients and it was counterintuitive,” Patel said. “You’re towing the line and it’s a difficult balance. [Medical marijuana] was the obvious choice because this is the complete opposite.”

To purchase medical marijuana, potential patients must visit a qualified physician and pay a $75 fee for a Registry Identification Card. Patients with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, AIDS, PTSD, Parkinson’s Disease and other conditions are eligible.

In the parking lot, a man who wanted to be identified only as “P.J,” said medical marijuana was the reason he could work again. He suffers from spasms. The medications he was taking caused his arteries to clog and organs to fail, he said.

“I wasn’t able to work for nine months,” he said. “It seems to be working.”

Marijuana has stigma attached to it. The plant was attacked in films like “Reefer Madness,” and represented in stoner culture like “Cheech and Chong” were humorous but may not have helped.

Patel said it was the responsibility of the industry to showcase to medicinal aspects of cannabis in a professional environment. The euphoric, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of marijuana far outweigh the effects of a handful of painkillers, he said.

The next frontier for marijuana is the legalization of edibles and recreational marijuana. Patel said there’s no telling when those products could be legalized.

“It’s hilarious if you think about it because it’s an archaic thing. This has been a medicine for thousands of years. Then modern medicine puts it off to the sideline,” Patel said. “Here we are trying to revamp it and show the benefit of it, and we’re getting traction.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment