PALM HARBOR, Fla. — ABC Action News reported Tuesday that Florida has opened a medical marijuana drive-thru for patients. Curaleaf opened for business at its Palm Harbor location June 19 and is the first dispensary in the state to offer a drive-thru service. The dispensary will also offer same-day and next-day delivery options and has online ordering available.
The medical marijuana drive-thru and delivery service is offered for existing patients only. New patients must go to the dispensary in person with their medical marijuana card from the State of Florida.
The concept to create a medical marijuana drive-thru option for the dispensary came as way for patients with physical disabilities to be able to visit Curaleaf dispensaries without having to leave their vehicles, according to the President of the company Lindsay Jones.
"We are piloting the drive-thru concept in Palm Harbor to provide our patients, several of which have physical disabilities, with another option for access and convenience,” said Jones. Jones went on to say that the company wants all patients who are suffering to have access to quality medicine and is proud to offer delivery services, as well.
Curaleaf has dispensaries in Fort Myers, Lake Worth, St. Petersburg, Southern Miami-Dade County, and the Miami Dadeland area. Deliveries are available from Curaleaf dispensaries five days a week, and the dispensaries also offer discounts for senior citizens, military veterans, pediatric patients, and people who receive public assistance.
Florida Medical Marijuana is Expected to Earn More than $1 Billion Annually
Medical marijuana sales in the state are substantial and the budding market has attracted several investors. The Florida Department of Health's Office of Medical Marijuana Use tracks all medical marijuana sales in the state and the data shows that 27 million milligrams of liquid cannabis oil, tinctures, and extracts were sold in a one-week period in June.
The medical marijuana industry in Florida is expected to earn more than $1 billion annually after just two short years, which prompted the California-based marijuana giant MedMen to buy a medical marijuana cultivation facility in Florida for $53 million. The company has bought the 5-acre cultivation facility Treadwell Nursery in Eustis.
CEO Adam Bierman says that he spent a decade positioning the company for new markets and sees the purchase as an investment.
"MedMen has built the best-in-class brand," said Bierman. "We continue to invest in premium assets that solidify our dominant position in the most important cannabis markets in the world."
MedMen also has 18 marijuana facilities spread throughout California, New York, and Nevada. MedMen will open 25 marijuana dispensaries in the state. The founder of the Medical Marijuana Business Association Jeff Sharkey says that the deal is a reflection of the global perspective on the new marijuana market's value, "even though it is in its infant stages."
The Canadian company Aphria Inc. also bought into the Florida medical marijuana market last year when it purchased the Chestnut Hill Tree Farm for $40 million, even though Canada was preparing to legalize the drug countrywide. Aphria announced the opening of its medical marijuana facility in Port St. Lucie at the end of May, and has three other facilities in Florida.
More than 100,000 patients have registered in Florida for the medical marijuana program, and an estimated 500,000 people in the state may qualify for the drug. Medical marijuana was legalized in the state in 2017 after 71 percent of voters approved legalizing the drug in 2016. Smokable medical marijuana is banned in the state.
Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana include ALS, AIDS/HIV, cancer, Crohn’s disease, chronic nonmalignant pain, epilepsy, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, and terminal illnesses.