Miami Approves Its First Medical Cannabis Dispensary

Miami, Florida has issued its first medical cannabis dispensary license to MRC-44, six years after Florida legalized medical cannabis and only after the recipient challenged the city with a lawsuit.

Full story after the jump.

In a 3-2 vote, Miami officials have voted to license the city’s first medical cannabis dispensary, NBC 6 reports.

The commissioners’ approval of the medical dispensary comes six years after Florida voters passed the reforms. The license was granted to MRC-44, a dispensary that had sued the city over its failure to license any dispensaries until a judge ruled that since Miami had not specifically banned dispensaries, they had to allow such businesses, according to the report.

“This is a really big move for the patients that need to get their medicine and it’s a big move for the cannabis industry,” Jason Erkes, of Sunnyside dispensaries, said in an interview with NBC 6. “It’s been debated for a long time, but I think at the end of the day they’re going to see there’s no negative societal impact.”

Commissioner Manolo Reyes, who opposed the approval, said he wants “to establish the regulations before they are authorized to be selling this marijuana” and that he feels a “clear distinction between medical marijuana and recreational” cannabis is needed.

Commissioner Ken Russell, who voted in favor of the approval, said that he has a medical cannabis card following two surgeries on his wrist.

“…I was prescribed opioids and I recognize the symptoms of withdrawal that are created into addiction that allow people to get hooked on meth,” he said during the debate. “This is a really slippery slope that very normal people get caught up in and having alternative forms of pain medication is crucial.”

Although this is Miami’s first medical cannabis retailer, there are 425 licensed dispensaries throughout the state.

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