Bonita Springs’ first medical marijuana dispensary opens

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Bonita Springs’ first medical marijuana dispensary, Curaleaf, opened Thursday on Bonita Beach Road.

“It’s definitely changed my life.,” Laura Miller said.

For many clients like Miller, the new dispensary provides easier access to medical marijuana in all its forms.

Miller is a Curaleaf client, and she made the drive from Naples to get an order filled that helps treat her lupus.

“I’ve been given so many opioids and drugs for it,” Miller said. “This is the first thing that’s worked for me.”

Before the facility opened, Miller and others in Collier County like Paul Whelan would make a trip to Fort Myers to seek help.

“I’m a combat veteran who’s been diagnosed with PTSD,” Whelan said.

Whelan said medical marijuana treats his aliments better than pharmaceuticals he took previously to treat his PTSD symptoms.

Collier continues to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, so that continues to be the main reason Collier residents continue to travel for medical marijuana.

Governor Ron DeSantis wants to end the state’s ban on smoking medical marijuana.

A court previously ruled a ban on smoking medical marijuana violates the constitutional amendment many have supported.

DeSantis told the state legislature Thursday to drop an appeal on the decision, or he will do himself. He also criticized the slow implementation of the amendment.

“When over 70 percent of Floridians vote in favor of the medical use of marijuana for people with really serious debilitating conditions, that is about as big a majority as you can get,” DeSantis said. “We need to have the peoples’ will represented in good law that is doing what they intended.”

Sp, with the governor’s announcement, people like Donna Forsythe and Claire Aizenstadt hope things can change.

“I would think that if somebody has the license and the product was in a smoke form that they should be legally allowed to smoke it,” Forsythe said.

Aizenstadt is on board with the same though process as well.

“I’m all for it, “ Aizenstadt said.

The employees at the newly opened Curaleaf in Bonita hope to bring relief to a population seeking help.

“A lot of people have lost their quality of life,” Curaleaf Spokesperson Michelle Terrell said. “They have something right here in Bonita, so they don’t have to travel two or three hours.”

This is one reason Miller is glad the doors are now open.

“It’s definitely made my life better,” Miller said.

As a reminder to those seeking treatment with medical marijuana, clients may not walk in a buy whatever they want. A doctor’s order must be acquire first in order to get products at Curaleaf.

Once you get an order, they are tracked electronically, so people can’t buy more marijuana than they need.

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