Medical marijuana dispensary opens in North Port

Published: January 18, 2018 5:36 PM EST
Updated: January 18, 2018 6:39 PM EST

A medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors Thursday in North Port.

For many people in pain, the grand opening of Surterra Wellness on Tamiami Trail is a long time coming. This could be the closest location for patients who live in areas of Southwest Florida that have banned dispensaries.

“It’s just nice to be apart, stay within my community and get my medicine and not feel like I’m like stressing myself out to get my medicine,” Surterra Wellness member K.C. Klens said.

More: Cape Coral Youth Council weighs in on medical marijuana dispensaries

Klens uses medical cannabis to treat illnesses including chronic neck pain and post traumatic stress disorder.

“I’ve become a lot more productive as a result of using the cannabis,” Klens said. “I cannot be happier with the results that’s it’s given me in terms of managing my stress and anxiety and PTSD symptoms.”

Surterra Wellness offers everything from oils, sprays, lotions and vaporizer pens. Klens uses a combination of items and has been able to cut down on the number of prescriptions of costly medical procedures.

Amendment 2 was passed by 71 percent of voters in November 2016. The only dispensary in Southwest Florida is located in North Fort Myers.

Below are current ban statuses in SWFL: 

  • Bonita Springs – Ban runs through Feb. 2018.
  • Punta Gorda – Ban runs through July 2018.
  • Sanibel – Indefinite ban.
  • Fort Myers – Ban runs through July 1, 2018.
  • Charlotte County – Banned. County commissioners would have to vote to repeal it.
  • Collier County – Commissioners voted in November 2017 to extend the ban for another six months.
  • Estero – Indefinite ban.

Suterra Wellness Florida president Wesley Reynolds says it’s an uphill battle to combat the stigma around medical marijuana.

“We’re doing this because we think it matters and because we think it changes lives for the better,” Reynolds said. “All of the research, all of the data, all of the personal experiences show that cannabis can be a very important part of a total wellness regiment.”

Suterra Wellness hopes to open new locations to make allow better access of medical marijuana.

More: Medical marijuana elusive in SWFL 1 year after legalization vote