Medicinal marijuana may be legal in Florida, but that doesn’t mean dispensaries and grow houses can just open wherever. Just last week, the Pensacola City Council voted 60 in their first reading and vote to allow medicinal marijuana dispensaries in certain commercial zones of Pensacola. On the corner of
On the corner of Texar Drive and North Davis Highway, a building stands under construction. Trulieve, a cannabis grow and dispense company, bought the building to be a future dispensary. News 5 got the opportunity to go into the place they grow and make their products. Soon, they hope to sell those same products in Pensacola.
In most states, it’s illegal. In Florida, it’s medicine. We can’t show you the outside of the Trulieve building where it’s grown. but we can tell you, it’s in Quincy, FL, population 8,000.
Inside the 72,000 square foot building, cannabis is everywhere.
First, we visited the mother room, where leaves are clipped from the perfect reproductive specimen that has no flowers. Next, they’re rooted in another room, where they’ll spend nine days in small cubes, then be transferred to spend two weeks in little planters. They’re in the planters alone, just in case they aren’t perfect so they can be easily destroyed.
“It’s more than what I expected,” said Jason Pernell, the C.O.O of Trulieve. “The way the plants grow, the efficiency… We take a manufacturing process approach. We live by our schedules, and make sure the plants meet the highest quality that they can.”
The schedule from those little planters moves slower. They spend two weeks in a toddler room, then two weeks in a ‘Big Veg’ room, then finally, they’re moved to the flower room. After about two months in the flower room, they’re fully developed.
Next, they go into the drying stage, where they spend five days hanging upside down. Then, it’s time for marijuana, to become medicinal.
“We process that plant into all our derivative products that go through an extraction process, and made into our final product types,” said Kim Rivers, C.E.O. of Trulieve. “We deliver those products to our dispensaries, and also our patients throughout Florida.”
More than half of the 2,500 patients in the state use Trulieve products, but all that green in the grow house doesn’t mean green in the bank.
“We are not, by any stretch, making any money,” said Rivers. “Right now, we are in a loss scenario, and we anticipate we’ll be in a loss scenario for a while.”
It’s personal connections to the patients that bring the only payoff’s at this time.
“It brings me great joy to know that patients of Florida are going to be getting relief,” said Pernell. “Just from seeing what my mother in law went through, and how it affected her and her quality of life, and just knowing that other patients throughout Florida are going to be getting the same.”
Even though many people support medicinal marijuana outright, some aren’t happy with the current policies in place, saying they don’t have the patients best interest at heart. On Wednesday evening at 9 PM, you’ll meet a Santa Rosa County woman who wants to change the rules for cannabis in Florida.