Medical Cannabis Comes to Volusia County

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By Bryon White

Medical cannabis has its detractors. But, like it or not, it’s now the law – and it turns out that it’s actually helping people. In 2016, Floridians passed Amendment II of the State Constitution, which legalized the sale of medicinal cannabis to qualified patients. The people decided that’s what they wanted, but the roll out has been slow and controversial, and a hotbed of political turmoil.

2017 saw a large number of municipalities in the state banning dispensaries, in an attempt to circumvent the perceived riffraff, which could hypothetically accompany such establishments.

However, the reality of the cannabis industry in Florida has been anticlimactic. Most dispensaries are clean and friendly, with some even sporting sleek decor and the ambiance of a high-end boutique. Cities like New Smyrna Beach chose to ban dispensaries, but the city of Edgewater is now home to the Trulieve dispensary, located on Boston Road. The dispensary offers in-store pickup and state-wide delivery. Patrons run the gamut from elderly cancer patients to children with rare genetic disorders.

Most of the latter patients choose products which contain CBD (cannabidiol), which does not induce the intoxicating effects of the better known cannabis constituent, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD is used to treat disorders such as epilepsy, inflammation, and even addiction treatment. CBD is sometimes popularly known as “Charlotte’s Web,” which is derived from a strain of cannabis selectively bred to produce extremely low quantities of THC. Charlotte’s Web was available to some patients prior to the legalization of medical cannabis in Florida, and CBD-only products can be purchased without a prescription.

Kim Adams of Edgewater told East Coast Current that her 6-year-old daughter, Zoë (pictured below), bene ts greatly from CBD treatment from FLA420, which classifies itself as a “CBD Wellness Center.” Zoë is diagnosed with a rare autosomal disease known as Sanfilippo Syndrome. “Fla420 CBD oil hasn’t changed our life, it gave Zoë life. She sleeps, we sleep, she is happier, healthier and able to concentrate and speak more. She has a few years to live, this helps make these years easier on her body,” Adams stated.

Adams claims that select medical cannabis treatments bring her daughter noticeable relief, and she’s not alone. The incidence of medical treatments involving cannabis are on the rise, and that’s causing a booming business throughout the nation. States which have legalized recreational cannabis have seen windfalls of tax revenue fill their coffers. Colorado collected over half a billion dollars in 2017, and that money will be used to build roads, schools and vital infrastructure for Coloradans. California is the latest state to introduce legal recreational cannabis, but it seems Florida is quite a ways off from following suit.

John Marano, co-owner of FLA420 in Daytona Beach, says that his business focuses only on CBD products, which can even include chocolates, oils and gummies. Marano’s products use only CBD derived from American-grown hemp. His business is centered on wellness, and doesn’t offer products containing high amounts of THC. As a result, his customers don’t need a medical cannabis card to purchase products.

CBD products have also become more popular in coffee shop environments, and Island Roasters Coffee in New Smyrna Beach recently began offering CBD as a “shot” which can be added to coffee or tea. These CBD additives do not produce any noticeable intoxicating effects, so those clamoring for a high should look elsewhere. Marano claims his products are all about helping people stay healthy. He plans to offer future products for free to patients on the autism spectrum, and according to Marano, his business has seen an uptick in referrals from physicians, chiropractors and other conventional medical professionals. FLA420 plans additional locations in Winter Park, Ormond Beach and New Smyrna Beach.

Bryon White is a writer, public servant, triathlete, and social entrepreneur.

He is a graduate of New Smyrna Beach High School, the University of Central Florida, and Loyola University New Orleans.

He resides in New Smyrna Beach with his wife, Megan, a teacher.

His articles are featured monthly, and focus on life, art and culture.

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