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Miami Beach's First Pot Dispensary to Open on 4/20

It looks like 4/20 will be a big day for marijuana in Miami Beach. The island's first cannabis dispensary will open on South Beach tomorrow, just over a year after city commissioners agreed on four zones where marijuana establishments would be allowed to set up shop.

Though dispensaries have been opening across Florida, Miami Beach has taken its time to get with the medical marijuana program. The city, which passed multiple moratoriums banning the sale of medical marijuana after the passage of Amendment 2, has given Surterra permission to begin doing business at 1523 Alton Rd., just south of Lincoln Road.

Surterra is one of the largest marijuana providers in Florida. It has a farm in Homestead and dispensaries in Tampa, Tallahassee, Pensacola, and Orlando and will soon open in Jacksonville and Miami Beach, as well as other locations. The cannabis firm also offers statewide home delivery. And according to Surterra Holdings CEO Jake Bergmann, the company is still growing.

"We've got nine locations that are under construction or completed as of now," Bergmann says. "With the Miami Beach location opening, we'll have seven locations open across the state. We're on track to have 22 locations by the end of the year."

The location features an open space designed to be inviting to patients coming in to browse medicinal products, as well as a garden and a kitchen. For many medical marijuana patients in Miami and Miami Beach, the opening of a dispensary a stone's throw from Lincoln Road will likely mark a major shift.

Until now, the closest dispensary to the urban center has been the Trulieve location next to Miami International Airport. "It's an honor, really," Bergmann says. "Our team has worked tirelessly to get this done. We've had more than a dozen people working with local and state officials. And you know how hard it can be to deal with permitting issues."

The Alton Road outpost is already complete; Bergmann and his team are only awaiting a business tax receipt to make it all official before they open up shop. According to the CEO, curious passersby have been trying to visit the dispensary. Once it officially opens at 3 p.m. tomorrow, anyone who wants a peek will be able to stop in and learn more about the wellness center regardless of whether they have a state-issued marijuana ID card.

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