Feet from where chef Manny Cruz works at Blue Front BBQ on North Dixie Highway, the business coming to a two- story building is going to make history in Palm Beach County as one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries.
“I feel like it's a good thing,” said Cruz. “As long as they're bringing in people you never know who across the street says i want some barbecue.”
That’s the spirit building owner Scott Berman is hoping for when his new tenant moves in to sell cannabis, “It's allowed the community to revitalize itself, or at least helped in a depressed area, so to me there's no downside,” expressed Berman.
He touts this as the next big business model that would draw tax revenue for the area. “I believe that medical marijuana concepts is going to be the Starbucks of medicinal marijuana,” added Berman.
A second dispensary, that will be operated by a different company, will be on South Dixie Highway next to city hall. “We have two in my opinion that might be enough,” said commissioner Andy Amoroso.
Amoroso said he’s looking forward to seeing how the pot shops play out, “I’m not opposed to medical marijuana,” he said. “I’m not opposed to legalization of marijuana. As an elected [official], my main concern was what does this look like in seven square miles.”
While a large majority of people want medical marijuana, a good number of them do not want those dispensaries in their neighborhoods.
That includes the principal, Renatta Espinoza, of the Academy for Positive Learning, which is catty corner from the future dispensary on North Dixie Highway.
Espinoza is furious. “I’m just really appalled that the politicians didn't think about the security and safety of the kids first,” she said.
Espinoza said the distance between the front of the charter school and the pot dispensary is 185 feet. But state law says dispensaries can be located anywhere a typical drug store can do business.
“If you want to open a medical marijuana pharmacy, open it in a section that's not near a school,” said Espinoza. “I’m scared of the kind of people it's going to attract not the clientele.”
It’s the potential crimes from an all-cash business Espinoza is worried about. “Basically, it attracts burglary, robbery,” she said. “I’m fearful for the gangs. I know there's a few gangs in Lake Worth.”
Espinoza said the fight against the pot dispensary business has just begun. “My attorney is talking to the general counsel and we're going to stop it,” she said.
The dispensary on North Dixie Highway is expected to open at the end of September.