Pubdate: Tue, 14 Nov 2017
Source: Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Copyright: 2017 Sun-Sentinel Company
Author: Skyler Swisher


Palm Beach County's first medical marijuana dispensary is now open for

At noon Tuesday, Knox Medical opened the center at 1 South Dixie
Highway in Lake Worth, across the street from Lake Worth City Hall.

The dispensary occupies a former bank building in downtown Lake Worth,
and the interior resembles a dentist or doctor's office. Patients
check in at the foyer and then can proceed to a room with glass
display cases showcasing Knox Medical's products.

Knox Medical CEO Jose Javier Hidalgo said the new dispensary will
improve access to medical cannabis for everyone in South Florida.

"What I am excited for this area is we are going to begin delivery
from this dispensary to throughout South Florida," he said. "That's
going to shorten the delivery times."

South Florida's fourth medical marijuana dispensary opened Tuesday in
Lake Worth. The three others are in Miami-Dade County.

No dispensaries have been approved for Broward County. Three are open
in Miami-Dade.

Federal law doesn't allow marijuana to be sent through the mail, but
dispensaries offer a courier service for qualified patients. The
company delivers the product from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys.

Knox Medical offers it products in vials -- not from jars of marijuana
buds commonly associated with pot dispensaries. Florida regulations
don't allow the combustion, or smoking, of any kind of marijuana.
Patients can purchase drops that are put under the tongue or
cartridges that can be used in a vape pen.

A vile of 300 milligrams of the medicine costs $45, while 600
milligrams runs about $90.

Steve Buchholz, 57, of Lake Worth, was waiting to pick up his supply
of medical cannabis.

He said he uses medical marijuana to treat chronic pain caused by
arthritis in his knee. Before the Lake Worth dispensary opened, he had
to go to Miami to purchase medical cannabis.

"This really provides a lot of relief," Buchholz said. "I am not a fan
of opioids at all because of the obvious hazards."

More than 50,000 Floridians have now registered to use medical
marijuana, said Mara Gambineri, a spokeswoman for the Florida
Department of Health.

Three-fourths of Florida voters in 2016 agreed that people with
certain medical conditions should be allowed to use marijuana to
alleviate their suffering.

Moratoriums or bans on pot shops passed by seven cities in Broward
County make it more difficult to open there, Javier Hidalgo said. Knox
Medical wants to open in a heavily trafficked area with ample park, a
site similar to where a Walgreens or Starbucks would locate, he said.

"One of the things that I find ridiculous about moratoriums is the
only people suffering from moratoriums are the people who need the
medicine," Hidalgo said.

Would-be medical marijuana users in Florida say they're waiting as
long as three months to get state-issued cards they need to get the

The state agency that gives out the cards is hiring more workers to
cut down on wait times.

Knox Medical opened its first Florida marijuana retail outlet in
Gainesville in May and others in Orlando, Tallahassee, and

The dispensaries are a cash-only business, but Knox Medical does
accept debit cards. Credit cards are not accepted. Company officials
say security will be stationed on site, along with numerous
surveillance cameras.

More than 1,000 doctors are registered to recommend medical marijuana.
But its illegality on the federal level makes it more complicated than
simply prescribing it.

Those who qualify to have it recommended include those with cancer,
epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's
disease, multiple sclerosis or "other debilitating medical conditions
of the same kind or class," per the amendment's language.
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