Medical marijuana producer GrowHealthy plans to open a dispensary on Okeechobee Boulevard by the end of the year.
The new pot shop will be at 4237 Okeechobee Blvd., an unincorporated pocket of Palm Beach County just east of Military Trail.
The dispensary will occupy 4,500 square feet, eclipsing the 3,100 square feet in Lake Worth occupied by Knox Medical, which for now operates the largest pot shop in the county.
GrowHealthy’s facility will occupy a visible space on a high-traffic thoroughfare between Interstate 95 and Military Trail.
“We’re going to see a large volume of people through there,” said Darrin Potter, a GrowHealthy executive who runs the company’s agricultural operations in Lake Wales.
GrowHealthy’s location marks the continuing expansion of Florida’s medical marijuana sector, which voters made legal in a landslide vote in 2016.
Nearly 150,000 Floridians have won permission to buy medical marijuana, and the Florida Department of Health had approved 47 marijuana dispensaries as of Friday. However, just two of those dispensaries are in Palm Beach County, where 75 percent of voters said yes to the constitutional amendment legalizing medicinal cannabis.
Some municipalities have barred pot shops, and some landlords are reluctant to lease space to businesses that operate in open defiance of federal marijuana laws.
While Palm Beach County’s zoning department signed off on GrowHealthy’s dispensary in November,
“It is a lot of work to get a dispensary open,” Potter said.
GrowHealthy is taking a newly built retail space owned by Bill Reichel, a West Palm Beach real estate investor and broker.
“They’re spending a ton of money,” Reichel said. “This is going to be their showplace facility.”
While 75 percent of Palm Beach County voters said yes to Amendment 2 in 2016, just two pot shops have opened in the county, both in Lake Worth. While tenants navigate regulatory scrutiny and landlord reluctance, Reichel said the deal with GrowHealthy came together quickly.
“It’s probably one of the easiest transactions we’ve ever done,” Reichel said. “I know a lot of landlords are having trouble, but it’s legal now in Florida.”
Palm Beach County and the cities of Boynton Beach and West Palm Beach now allow marijuana dispensaries to open in their jurisdictions. Pot producer Trulieve has signed leases for space in Boynton Beach and in unincorporated Palm Beach County near Okeechobee Boulevard and Miliatry Trail, but neither location has opened. Another cannabis company, Surterra, plans a location in northern Palm Beach County.
The county ultimately could be home to perhaps two dozen pot shops.
GrowHealthy is part of a wave of investment in Florida’s cannabis industry, which is expected to achieve $1 billion in sales in the near future. In January, iAnthus Capital of New York paid $48 million for GrowHealthy.
While states such as Colorado, California, Massachusetts and Nevada have fully legalized weed, Florida’s medical marijuana rules remain strict. For example, Florida does not allow the sale of smokable weed or of marijuana edibles.