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Surterra Wellness opens its first Pasco medical marijuana dispensary

The opening came the same day DeSantis demanded an end to the state ban on smokable cannabis.

Surterra Wellness officially opened its first medical cannabis dispensary in Pasco County.

One of the largest medical cannabis providers in the country, Surterra expects to have 25 dispensaries open throughout Florida by midyear, with more than 300,000 square feet of growing space, and a half-million square feet of cultivation space where the cannabis plant is processed into medicinal form.

The grand opening Thursday came on the same day Gov. Ron DeSantis put pressure on the Legislature to stop blocking the use of smokable cannabis for patients.

In a news conference, DeSantis warned that if lawmakers did not take swift action, he would handle it without them — stopping the state’s appeal of a court ruling that said patients should be able to smoke their medicine if recommended by a doctor.

Expanding medical cannabis use to smokable form could increase demand, as more users who might have chosen to continue purchasing cannabis on the black market switch to Florida’s legally regulated marketplace.

“This is a great day for wellness in the Sunshine State. As Florida moves to expand patient access to cannabis, Surterra Wellness is officially opening its doors in New Port Richey,” said Kim Hawkes, Senior Manager of Government & Public Relations at Surterra Wellness.

“Our new Wellness Center was packed with Pasco County patients from miles around, thrilled to have convenient access to our high-quality options for cannabis-based care.”

Surterra’s Wellness Centers offer a full range of services for patients certified to receive cannabis under the state’s regulation of the industry. They also serve prospective patients by helping connect them with doctors certified by the state to recommend the drug, as well as guiding them through Florida’s regulatory process.

Staff members are also trained on the different variations of cannabis available to patients to help them decide which is most appropriate for treatment. The company also offers a wide range of modes by which to consume the drug including vaporizers, tinctures and capsules.

The latest Surterra Wellness Center is located at 4218 US Highway 19, New Port Richey.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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