My email for being a Florida medical marijuana patient showed up in my in-box on Thursday, nine working days after my application was submitted. Couldn’t break away from work on Thursday, so on Friday I was in the dispensary. What an experience!
- Don’t visit around the lunch hour, or when people are getting off of work.
- Don’t visit on Fridays or pay days if possible.
- Be prepared to wait.
- Take adequate cash.
- Dress appropriately if you are sensitive to air conditioning.
- Be prepared to make substitutions – they may not have what you want.
- Once you understand the process, you may want to pre-order via the web.
Mayhem in the Parking Lot
I showed up at the Trulieve dispensary in Jacksonville around 1:10 pm. The parking lot was gridlocked. Every parking spot was occupied. Cars in the back of the lot were trying to get out while cars in the front were trying to get into the back, and the driveway was only wide enough for one car. It took about 5 minutes to turn off of Beach Boulevard into the parking lot, and then had to wait for a car to leave so I could park. Uggh.
Inside the Waiting Room
Inside was better. I went to the counter, presented my driver’s license and a copy of the email from the OMMU. I asked how long the wait was, and was told that ‘things are moving pretty fast.’ About 2/3 of the chairs in the waiting room were filled, I slid into one near the counter. The room was filled with fragrant terpenes. Decor of the waiting room was nice – wood paneling, translucent windows that let in filtered light, sort of a boutique atmosphere but not too fru-fru. A TV was looping a Trulieve commercial, that was mentally occupying for a few minutes, but it soon became redundant.
The waiting room was on the cool side, nice for me since my metabolism runs high. I was wearing khakis trousers and a long sleeve Oxford shirt, and I was comfortable. Some of the people who were in short pants and short sleeves seemed cold and a bit prickly.
A middle-aged woman came in a few minutes after me, checked-in, and sat next to me. We started talking, and she said she had pre-ordered online. She said that saves time, they prepare the order early and have it waiting. The only thing that made it tricky sometimes is that they run out of different products fairly often, and the inventory on the website when ordering is rather general and not linked to what each store actually has. The woman waited 10 or 15 minutes, and was called into the back – and she left carrying her order shortly after that. Pre-ordering does save time.
An elderly woman in a wheelchair and her caretaker came in shortly after that. Another new patient, she went to the front desk and checked in. Shortly after that, they were called back up to the counter – her entry in the state database was missing some required information. She had to call to get her doctor to update her profile before she could make a purchase. C’mon, Doc, your patients deserve better!
Inside the Sales Room
Not sure if the lady in the wheelchair was able to reach her doctor and get things fixed – I was called into the back room shortly after that. A bit more waiting there, there were 5 or 6 budtenders serving 5 or 6 people and a few people lined up and waiting for an opening.
I soon got called to the counter, and the budtender introduced himself. He noted that I was a new patient, and asked a few questions to gauge my level of knowledge and understand what I was there for. Good service, all of my questions were answered.
I had been on the Trulieve website the night before, and had a list of things I was interested in buying. Started by asking which of the flower cups were in stock. All out of flower. Ok, not too surprised about that, I had heard that flower is often out of stock. Asked which varieties of Truclear were available in the syringe – was told they had Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid – no choice within these categories. I asked about the oral syringes – again, even though the website showed multiple varieties of sativa (Jack Herer, Columbian Gold, Sour Diesel), they had only one sativa, one indica, and one hybrid. OK, I’ll take 1 sativa, 1 indica, and 1 of the hybrid.
I ended up getting several different product lines (Truclear oil, Trupod and Trustik vape, oral syringes, CBD tincture) – enough to sample and find which work best for me. The budtender applied a $75 discount for new patients, which brought the total down nicely.
I have no doubt that the supply issues I encountered will be corrected fairly soon. The patient count and the number of Trulieve dispensaries has grown at a rapid pace, and sometimes demand outpaces the supply. That is a growing pain of the Florida system. I did not walk out empty handed, so I won’t complain.
As with dispensaries in other states, this is typically a cash-only business. Trulieve does have ATM cash machines in their dispensaries, but there are fees, I had no idea what the withdrawal limits are, so I went to my bank on the way to the dispensary.
No surprise that my experience in the Florida dispensary was quite different from my experiences in Colorado dispensaries. Less variety is the biggest thing – and that is due primarily to limits imposed by the State of Florida. But walking out with a bag full of cannabis products and not worrying about being arrested is still a pretty great feeling.
I left the building with my provisions and noticed that there were several empty parking spaces … the lunch crowd had thinned. Was back in my car at 2:10, total time at the dispensary about 1 hour. No problem turning out on to Beach Boulevard.
Overall, my personal experience was OK. I learned a few things about how it works, and the second visit is likely to be faster. As time goes on, the process will improve.