Marijuana jobs

Citrus County’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened this week to big crowds in Crystal River.

Trulieve is located at 275 NE U.S. 19, inside the former Lowman Law Firm building next to CVS. It’s the chain’s 86th Florida dispensary and the 95th nationwide that sells medicinal THC and CBD cannabis products. 

Trulieve commands 50% of the medical marijuana dispensary market in the state, said Dr. Jeffrey Sharkey, president of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida.

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The company, he said, got in the game earlier than others and has been successful in its distribution system and implementation of the law.

“They’ve done their homework,” he said.

Trulieve spokeswoman Rachel Rivera said it’s all about patient access and not having to drive long distances.

“We want to make sure patients can access the products they rely on,” Rivera said. "Having a store (in Crystal River) is a better opportunity for them.”

The new store has 16-22 employees, she said.

The facility sells products to alleviate seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms, pain, nausea, loss of appetite, and other symptoms associated with serious medical conditions such as cancer,.

Patients formerly had to travel to the Trulieve in Brooksville for their supply.

Trulieve’s dispensaries sell medicinal THC and CBD cannabis products. The dispensary provides such items as smokable flowers, tinctures, chocolate and gel edibles, capsules and other medical marijuana products. 

Sharkey said the industry is highly regulated. Patients must have the proper registry card from their physician and follow the stringent rules in place. Depending on the patient’s ailment, the physician might prescribe a product that is low in THC/CBD and need non-euphoric care.

THC is the psychoactive chemical that, at higher levels, defines marijuana. Those products too are available for patients who need it, Sharkey said.

“There are a lot of people, seniors too, who have enough pain who want to try this,” Sharkey said. “What’s the harm?”

As the stigma surrounding these dispensaries goes away and more people become knowledgeable about the benefits of medical marijuana, more dispensaries will open in Citrus County, he said.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com. To see more of his stories, visit  tinyurl.com/y6kb23vv.