More Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Needed






It’s been nearly two years since an overwhelming majority of Florida residents voted to legalize medical marijuana. Since that time, local governments in Broward County have done very little to carry out the will of the people. In fact, there are still no medical marijuana dispensaries anywhere in the County.

In order to help advance the debate over this issue, I thought it might be useful to share one person’s firsthand experience with the product.

About nine months ago, my friend Jim began to experience severe nausea. Just looking at food made him sick to his stomach. His doctors were unable to pinpoint a cause for the nausea, and the medications they prescribed didn’t help. He was losing weight, struggling to walk and suffering from growing anxiety.

At the suggestion of a friend, Jim decided to try medical marijuana. He got an enthusiastic go-ahead from his doctor, who referred him to a State-approved physician. He interviewed with the doctor, was approved and assigned a patient number. He then went online to register with the State. Three weeks later, he was notified by email that he was approved to purchase medical marijuana.

Although medical marijuana can be ordered by phone and delivered to your home, Jim wanted to go to an actual dispensary and talk to a pharmacist first because he didn’t know anything about the product. We couldn’t find a listing for a dispensary in Broward County. There were none at the time, and only two listed in Broward County on at the time this was posted. So we drove about an hour north to Lake Worth. When we arrived I thought we were in the wrong place. There was no signage on the building and very few people—not the long line of customers and buzz of activity that I had expected.  

Jim registered at the front desk and joined three other people in a waiting room.  About 20 minutes later, he was called into an inner office where he sat down to meet with a licensed aide. They talked for an hour before Jim decided to purchase a small vial of marijuana oil to try to help suppress his nausea.

When he got home that afternoon, Jim placed a drop of the oil under his tongue.  Two hours later he sat down to dinner and ate his entire meal plus dessert without feeling sick for the first time in months. He now has a regular routine: one drop of oil before breakfast and another drop before dinner. It’s been five months since he started taking medical marijuana and he hasn’t missed a meal yet. The nausea has subsided, his appetite is back and he is regaining his strength. Just as importantly, he has experienced no side effects. He doesn’t feel high or jumpy or crave food. He is simply able to eat normally once again and his doctors are pleased with his progress.

There are three takeaways from Jim’s story.

First, the State needs to speed up the approval process. It shouldn’t take three weeks for a patient to be able to get his medication once the doctor prescribes it.

Second, local governments in Broward County need to stop acting like medical marijuana dispensaries are crime-infested crack houses which are a threat to their community. People like Jim who have legitimate medical needs should not have to drive an hour to fill their prescription. Get some more local dispensaries up and running already.

Third, people who are suffering from medical issues such as nausea, loss of appetite, sleeplessness or anxiety should talk to their doctor and consider taking medical marijuana. It’s working very well for Jim and it might be the right solution for you.


Mark Brown is the former Vice Mayor of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea


3 Responses to “More Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Needed”

  1. Sto says:

    Dude, that was a knarlly article

  2. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    I say bring it on.Do u realize where not only medical pot is authorized so is recreational pot, in which those states( authorized rec.pot) are balancing their budgets with the proceeds pot produces.Yet, Florida u watch will be the last state in the Union to give the green light to recreational pot.Yes.The money is that impressive.With over sixty % of the residents approving pot u elected officals have no right to restrict medical pot facilities where they should go.Even more u have no right to judge and or hinder ehat the residents in this state overwhelmingly approved.So there…

  3. Barbara Cole says:

    Perhaps a look at recent additional dispensaries would have updated Mr. Brown. The Sentinel last week reported on them in neighboring towns in close proximity to Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. As a seated member of the commission and candidate Brown wanted a dispensary in LBTS which was not supported by those who sat beside him or the majority of residents.