A 57-year-old Royal Palm Beach woman was the first in line this morning at Curaleaf, Lake Worth’s second medical marijuana dispensary that opened Monday.
“I’m here to get my medicine,” said the woman, who didn’t want to give her name.
Her medication is called Sativa. She said she uses it for the pain she gets from when she was hit by a tow truck on Florida’s Turnpike about eight years ago.
“It helps,” the woman said of the drug. “It takes the pain away and makes me happy. I waited three months to get my card from the state, but it was worth it.”
Curaleaf is just 12 blocks north of the county’s first pot shop, run by Knox Medical , which opened in November.
Curaleaf also has two dispensaries in Miami, according to the company’s website.
Patients must be referred by a doctor who is in the state’s registry of qualified physicians’ for medical marijuana.
The Lake Worth site has been in hot water for months because of its proximity to Academy for Positive Learning, an A-rated public charter school across the street.
“I’m furious, but I’ve got to be patient, they say,” said Renatta Espinoza, the school’s principal. “We called the district attorney and we’re doing the protocol thing we should be doing.”
Espinoza said she’s concerned about the attention the dispensary can get. “It’s less than 10 feet away from a bus stop,” she said. “It just attracts more people who shouldn’t be there.”
No one from Curaleaf was allowed to speak with the media, according to the store manager and The Palm Beach Post was not allowed inside.
While state law says medical marijuana dispensaries must be 500 feet from schools, Curaleaf’s Chief Executive Gregg Roberts said last year the site was “grandfathered in” because the company won approval before the state enacted the law.
“The facility was cited and approved and we have already invested in making this location operational for those patients that have been waiting for this medicine,” he said.
Joyce Albu, a 52-year-old Palm Beach Gardens woman, said she’s thankful.
“I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and was on 14 medications and none of them were working,” she said. “Just getting out of bed every day was a struggle. I did my own research and found out that cannabis was very helpful in restoring my muscular system and it took away all the joint pain.”
Albu said her speech was becoming unintelligible and she was losing her memory.
“It was taking a toll on me physically for six to eight months,” she said. “But within minutes, cannabis made my joint pain disappear.”
On Monday morning, after 10 a.m. it was quiet in front of Curaleaf. No one is waiting outside to get in. A nearby worker, who does maintenance for several Lake Worth buildings, said he wasn’t surprised the crowd was small.
“I see how Knox does it and you just see two or three cars,” he said. “It’s not like the masses are going to be here. It’s not like the women’s march.”