Trulieve, a Tallahassee-based medical marijuana company, will begin construction of its 14th Street West property within a week or two, company officials say.
The news comes on the day that Amendment 2, approved by 71 percent of Florida voters, goes into effect. The constitutional amendment allows higher-strength marijuana to be used for a wider list of medical ailments.
The company purchased the 1103 14th Street West building a few months ago, before the city passed a six-month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries to allow time to adapt the new industry.
As city officials moved forward with the moratorium following the Nov. 8 passage of Amendment 2, a Jan. 1 deadline was established that all permits for any company seeking to open a dispensary had to be submitted by Dec. 31 to avoid being affected by the moratorium. Victoria Walker, Trulieve community relations director, has stated that Trulieve did not believe it would be impacted by the moratorium because it had already received city approval when it decided to purchase the building.
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City officials confirmed Tuesday that Trulieve’s permits had been filed before the deadline.
They got their permits in just under the wire. I checked with legal and they are good to go.
Catherine Hartley, planning and community development director
“They got their permits in just under the wire,” said Catherine Hartley, planning and community development director. “I checked with legal and they are good to go.”
Trulieve purchased the buildings in September for $335,000 under the newly formed Bradenton 14 RE Holding LLC, according to the Manatee County property appraiser’s office. Walker said redevelopment of the buildings will bring the dilapidated two-story office buildings back to life as a “high-end, comfortable concept.”
Trulieve has dispensaries already operating in Tallahassee and Clearwater, and will open up a Tampa dispensary by the end of next week.
“We’ll start our construction on the Bradenton location in the next week or so, as well, and from there it takes about 60 to 90 days to get the building looking like the rest of our dispensaries,” said Walker.
A new set of rules still must be adopted and implemented by the Florida Legislature and the Department of Health to guide regulations of Amendment 2. But Walker said there is a “misconception” about the company’s ability to start dispensing its product.
“When they legalized low THC medical marijuana in March, the laws were already in place and we’ve been dispensing that product since late summer,” Walker said. “The amendment conditions take us back to patients being able to see their doctors, and if qualified, they can come in and pick up their product.”
Walker said Trulieve also delivers statewide, but is strategically trying to locate dispensaries for better convenience for patients.
“That’s one of the reasons we wanted to be in Bradenton and other big towns where we can offer that convenience to the base of patients where access will be easier,” Walker said. “Bradenton is a natural choice.”