This week the first medical marijuana dispensary in Pensacola, Florida opened it's doors and met a few dozen patients eager to learn about how marijuana can help them. Trulieve owns and operates medical marijuana dispensaries in Tallahassee, Tampa, and Clearwater, and hopes the new Pensacola store will continue their professional reputation within the community. Patients with cancer, AIDS, Parkinson's disease and several other conditions will be able to purchase medical marijuana at one of the state's few dispensaries once recommended by a doctor and added to the state's registry. Some patients are finally able to find relief after waiting years for politics to make medicine safe and legal.
Mark Patten, who traveled from Milton for the dispensary's opening, said the Legislature had done too much already to slow down the process.
When Patten was diagnosed with cancer, doctors told him he had three to five years to live. Now, he said, it's been seven years since he got the news.
"We wanted to get involved (with medical marijuana treatment options) immediately, because it's a lot safer than opiates," Patten said of himself and his caregiver, Jane Cockerham. "It's something that relieves pain without being habit forming ... . I've been on opiates so long, they weren't working. I knew it was time for a change."