By Hank McCoy
A dispensary is finally open in Coral Springs — three years after several moratoriums prevented them and four years after medical marijuana was legalized in Florida.
Although marijuana has been legalized for medical use, until now, Coral Springs had not partaken in the exploding industry.
After the three-year moratorium was lifted, the first dispensary to set up shop is Fluent, which grows all their cannabis in Florida with all but one of their 22 locations in the state.
Since opening, Maria Velandia, Retail Operations Area Manager said the community has been receptive and happy they wouldn’t have to drive far to purchase their medicine.
She said Fluent hears weekly from patients about finally finding the help they’ve been looking for. The struggle to find the right painkiller or medication to remedy their pain is no longer an issue they have.
“Even something as simple as being able to sleep, that’s such a struggle, especially during these times,” Velandia said.
In 2016 residents in Florida voted 71 percent in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical use. Despite the overwhelming majority, the City of Coral Springs placed a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries for 180 days.
That moratorium was continuously renewed until March of 2019 by the city commission. Vice Mayor Joy Carter, Commissioner Larry Vignola, and former Vice Mayor Lou Cimaglia had voted to continue, and Mayor Skip Campbell and Commissioner Dan Daley were against it.
At the time, Vignola went as far as invoking the “Pill Mill” situation that Broward County had dealt with as precedent for concern over medical marijuana. Carter was concerned about the proliferation of stores as a result of dropping the moratorium. Cimaglia invoked that marijuana was a “gateway drug” at a commission meeting.
It ultimately took the residents of Coral Springs to voice their disapproval of the moratorium. After a city-wide poll was taken in March of 2019, 62 percent of the residents favored ending it. The commission, with newly-elected Mayor Brook, Vice Mayor Joy Carter, and Commissioners Dan Daley and Joshua Simmons — who replaced a “no” vote, voted 4 to 1 to end the moratorium with Commissioner Larry Vignola voting no.
For thousands of people, medical marijuana has been a giant step forward in pain management. Florida has over 300,000 medical marijuana card-carrying patients. That’s almost 1.5 percent of the state’s population.
Fluent is located at 1406 N University Drive in Coral Springs and open Monday – Wednesday from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Thursday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Sunday’s from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sunday’s.
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- Hank McCoy is a writer and journalist covering music, politics, and culture on his blog Hank’s Luncheonette, as well as currently working on publishing his first novel. Hank grew up in Parkland and graduated from FAU before moving to Chicago where he worked in the music industry as an artist and talent booker when he wasn’t throwing people out of punk bars. Hank recently moved back to South Florida after living overseas in Berlin while he traveled to Europe.
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