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West Palm Beach approves medical marijuana dispensaries

Posted at 4:52 PM, Jun 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 11:14:59-04

UPDATE: West Palm Beach approved medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits. 


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. --Are there medical marijuana dispensaries already eyeing locations in West Palm Beach? The city says not as of yet, but that could change soon if commissioners vote yes to allow dispensaries. The city is voting during Monday's commission meeting. 

Curaleaf Dispensary in Lake Worth said it does serve customers from West Palm Beach and if the city green lights dispensaries, it will look into how to better serve those customers.

Lake Worth's two medical marijuana dispensaries have not been open for long, but the businesses are serving customers from all over South Florida. 

"We have to drive but it's not a terrible distance," said Ira Tillman, Boynton Beach.

Tillman said he gets medical marijuana for his arthritis. When he first started going to Curaleaf in Lake Worth he said he was surprised at how secure it was. 

"I feel very safe coming in, parking lot, there’s a security guard inside; the door is locked, you can’t get in without showing your license," said Tillman.

Neighboring businesses said they have not had any issues with the dispensaries which are a mile from each other on Dixie Highway. 

"It's an ideal location," said Katherine Sharp, who manages the Marijuana Doctor clinic located between the two dispensaries. "This whole area is an up and coming area all along the Dixie corridor, you can see there’s a lot of development coming."

Scott Berman agrees. He said at first businesses nearby were worried about what to expect with a dispensary opening up. 

"Since they've moved in, they've been a positive influence on the community," said Berman. 

Curaleaf is Berman's tenant. He runs his own window and door business next door and says most people are surprised to see what the clientele going to the dispensary is really like. 

"Ironically, I have the benefit of watching the people walk into the dispensary because we're on the second floor and I would say conservatively the average age is over 60," added Berman.

None of the West Palm Beach city commissioners have voiced support for an outright ban on dispensaries. Some have had concerns about where they could open up since they are allowed to be anywhere a regular pharmacy is.

There is a 500-foot distance requirement if a school is nearby, but if a pharmacy is within those 500 feet, there can legally be a dispensary.