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Florida’s First Dispensary Opens as Amendment 2 Opponents Add to War Chest

Trulieve’s Tallahassee dispensary opened on schedule yesterday, according to a Sun Sentinel report. Its first customer purchased cannabis capsules to ease his seizures and chronic muscle spasms. The company made its first medical cannabis delivery last week.

However, it is the state’s first and only dispensary, and the heiress to Florida’s most valuable supermarket, Publix, is reported to have donated $800,000 to a campaign against November’s Amendment 2 initiative.

According to a Miami New Times report, the Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust made the donation to Drug Free Florida on July 14. Amendment 2 would expand the medical cannabis condition list and provide wider access to full strength marijuana to patients enrolled in the strict program. Drug Free Florida helped defeat a similar amendment — by just 2 percent — in 2014.  

Jenkins Barnett, the daughter of Publix founder George Jenkins, stepped down from her role with the grocery store chain last month. The 59-year-old is battling Alzheimer’s, which, according to a recent studycould be treated with marijuana therapies.

Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, thinks the trust is fighting the industry to protect the company’s bottom line rather than due to Barnett’s own politics. A Publix spokesperson said the company has not made any donations for or against Amendment 2.

A United for Care poll, released on July 27, found 77 percent of Floridians favor the amendment initiative, compared to just 20 percent opposed. State officials expect dispensaries to open in 19 more Florida cities in the coming year.    

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