Florida medical marijuana companies doing big business in home deliveries
Naples Daily News / By Frank Gluck
Two men wearing slacks and button-down shirts emerge from an unmarked SUV outside a Cape Coral home and retrieve a small, unlabeled paper bag from a locked steel case filling the vehicle’s back hatch.
Stephen Hunt hands the men $60 in cash — the only kind of payment they’ll accept — in exchange for the bag and then signs an electronic form acknowledging his receipt of its contents: Two vaporizer pens filled with 10-day supplies of liquid cannabis.
With that, the deal is done. And for the 35-year-old Hunt, a diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder patient and one of more than 83,500 Floridians so far registered to use medical marijuana, it’s all perfectly legal.
“It’s actually done wonders for me and helped me get back on track. For a while, from the lack of sleep and the stress piling on my anxiety and depression, I was getting off track,” said Hunt, who manages a restaurant kitchen on Fort Myers Beach and tried prescription drugs without success. “It was a complete switch around when I started using the medication.”
As many Florida communities ban or delay the opening of marijuana dispensaries, the state’s cannabis producers and retailers have used deliveries to meet booming demand. Some of the largest such companies say that between a third and half of their customers now get the drug this way.
Florida had 28 cannabis dispensaries as of this week, roughly one for every 3,000 patients using the drug, according to the state Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
Most are concentrated on the state’s coasts or are in heavier-populated inland metropolitan areas, such as Orlando and Gainesville. That means that, in many parts of the state, patients might otherwise have to drive for more than an hour to find the nearest cannabis shop.
Southwest Florida has four nearby dispensaries: those operated by Trulieve in Tampa, Bradenton and North Fort Myers; and one Surterra Therapeutics dispensary in North Port.
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