NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The first Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Southwest Florida is now open on Cleveland Avenue in North Fort Myers. Trulieve workers say the opening creates easier access to medication for patients suffering from anything from cancer to traumatic stress.
“It’s just an extra burden on the patients to pay an extra delivery fee,” said Victoria Walker, Trulieve Communications Director.
Walker explained patients have had to travel to other dispensaries around Florida ranging from Jacksonville to Tampa and down to Miami. For those unable to make the trip, they pay a delivery fee to have it brought to their homes. However, now that a neighborhood dispensary is available, patients can get one-on-one consultations and have a closer look at different types of medications available.
"There's plenty of patients, as you see, that are in need in this area. [I'm] hoping to see other MMTC's open in the area as well to give some competition and other products," said Medical Marijuana user, Jason Cole.
While Cole suffers from handling cancer, other patients say the marijuana helps will post-traumatic stress.
"My PTSD started when I was younger because my dad used to hit me," explained Jennifer Williams, Trulieve client.
Williams says that her PTSD, anxiety, and migraines are all calmed by the use of medical marijuana. She says it takes away the fear of harmful side effects some pharmacy drugs can cause.
“This is a great way for a lot of people to not be on pills that effects your liver… versus this actually helping you in other ways that isn’t effecting your organs.”
Inside the dispensary were shouts of joy from clients, but a couple doors down, some local business owners expressed their concerns.
One business owner said that they feel concerned the dispensary will bring the "wrong people" into the community and more addicts.
Nevertheless, others were in full support of the opening.
“Do you wanna go have Xanax and be addicted to that or medical marijuana?" said Samara, a local business manager. “Especially in our area and across the state people want to use it medicinally and I think it’s more that, than in the wrong way.”
For people looking to purchase medical marijuana, you will need an approved I.D. card from a physician or doctor. A list of physicians as well as dispensaries around Florida can be found at www.trulieve.com.