CORAL SPRINGS, FL - A medical marijuana dispensary is moving ahead with plans to open a shop on University Drive in Coral Springs.
Fluent Cannabis Care won approval from the Coral Springs City Commission in October to open up a new dispensary at 1406 North University Drive and recently submitted plans for permitting to remodel the inside of the store, which was once a mattress store.
The new shop, sandwiched between the Vitamin Shoppe and popular Mexican grill restaurant Zona Fresca, is the first medical marijuana dispensaries to potentially open its doors in Coral Springs since the commission voted last April to allow medical marijuana facilities to operate in the city -- as long as they meet strict zoning and operations requirements.
The City Commission had previously decided to ban such businesses from Coral Springs following a 2016 referendum approval by Florida voters to legalize medical marijuana for certain conditions, including epilepsy and Crohn’s disease. Many area municipalities also banned the businesses, but a growing number are starting to reconsider.
As Fluent moves closer to opening, Coral Springs staff will review the company’s plans to make sure all the state and local criteria are met for a medical marijuana facility, including extensive security measures, drug and alcohol testing for employees, and no consumption of dispensed drugs inside or outside the business.
City Commissioner Larry Vignola voted against the measure last year.
He said Thursday he didn’t want Coral Springs to be known as the place to get marijuana products, especially since many dispensaries offer delivery services to their customers’ homes.
“I don’t want us to be the hub for people who can’t wait to have it delivered to their home,” he said.
He said many people may support medical marijuana, but they don’t want dispensaries near their homes.
“To me, this is like prisons. Everyone agrees there should be prisons in Florida if you’ve committed a crime and have to deal with the consequences,” Vignola said. “But I wouldn’t want one in my backyard.”
Coral Springs Vice Mayor Joy Carter said the city has clear guidelines on where and how a dispensary can operate. As long as those rules are followed, she supports allows dispensaries to operate because “a majority of voters approved” the legislative initiative.
Fluent, formerly known as Knox Medical, also operates in Texas, Puerto Rico and Pennsylvania, according to the city. The company has at least 15 dispensaries in Florida and is looking to have 30 by the end of 2020.
Representatives from Fluent could not be reached to determine when they anticipate opening in Coral Springs.
To buy medical marijuana from a dispensary like Fluent, patients need to get a card from the state indicating they qualify for treatment.