One of the fastest-growing medical marijuana treatment clinics in Florida has opened a dispensary in the EDGE District.
AltMed Florida opened its MÜV medical cannabis dispensary at 1101 1st Ave. N. Monday morning.
It’s the first MÜV dispensary in St. Petersburg and the company’s 22nd dispensary in Florida. The company is on track to have 32 locations opened by the end of the year statewide.
The 3,600-square-foot dispensary in St. Petersburg employs about a dozen people, said Todd Beckwith, director of corporate affairs for AltMed Florida, a privately owned company headquartered in Sarasota.
The company was attracted to the arts and small business culture in the EDGE District, Beckwith said.
“We’re all about lifting up communities and revitalizing spaces. We put a significant amount of money into renovating this building, even during construction. I met dozens of shop owners in town and they were very welcoming. I’ve already met with the arts council and we’re interested in getting involved with the Shine Festival and getting a mural for ourselves,” he said.
He expects the dispensary to help boost retailers throughout the district.
“We are excited to be part of the community because we’ve seen in other areas where we go not only does our business do well but our patients are consumers and the first rule of any retail business is you need traffic. We’ve seen our businesses and neighbors’ businesses improve everywhere we go,” he said.
Opening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic presented some logistical issues. The grand opening is being spread over three days — today through Wednesday — for crowd mitigation. But the biggest challenge came prior to the opening, prior to the determination that AltMed Florida would be deemed an essential business.
“We went from a situation to where we potentially had to lay off hundreds of employees to actually hiring hundreds of employees because we created A team and B team in our cultivation, manufacturing and dispensaries. So if anyone would get sick, we could shift a whole team out and a whole team in. We hired hundreds of temporary, part-time employees to fill in extra shifts and also tried to create a bridge for people who may have been temporarily furloughed. So it actually turned into a win-win all the way across,” Beckwith said.
AltMed Florida views medical cannabis as the modernization of three of the most important industries in Florida — health care, real estate development and agriculture — and demand is growing.
“There are over 340,000 active patients with medical cannabis cards in the state of Florida. The state is adding about 2,500 new patients every week so the state projects more than half-a million patients by the end of the year,” Beckwith said.
AltMed Florida is among the newer players in the industry, and is in the top four medical marijuana companies in Florida, based on dispensation reports from the state, Beckwith said. The company started with a small group of investors and has kept reinvesting to build and grow its operations, he said. AltMed Florida has no debt.
The company has patented several different types of medical cannabis products. All the products are sold in MÜV dispensaries. Florida does not allow wholesale sales between license holders, and only products that license holders make themselves can be sold in dispensaries.
For the grand opening, the company is offering licensed Florida medical cannabis patients a one-time, 25 percent discount on their entire first purchase. Patients can also order online for express pickup or delivery to help reduce traffic flow in the storefront.