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Medical marijuana dispensary opens in Riverside

New Jacksonville business offers oils, patches, oral sprays -- and advice

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors Tuesday in the Riverside area of Jacksonville. 

More than 100 patients were serviced at Surterra Wellness, a 1,000-square-foot dispensary that displays fake sample products along the wall with their CBD-THC ratio.

All the real products, which range from oils to patches and oral sprays, are in a secure location.

The display categorizes the products under labels like “relief” and “soothe and calm.”

The labels include the amounts of CBD and THC, both primary components of cannabis. CBD has strong natural anti-inflammatory agents -- most commonly used for pain relief. It doesn't get you high. 

THC is a psychoactive component that can get you high. It's most commonly used as a relaxer or to curb the side effects of chemotherapy. 

The dispensary includes an educational center, kitchen and small garden in an open floor plan. Unlike some other dispensaries, you don't need a medical marijuana ID to walk in the door.

"They can come in and ask questions, ask where they can find a physician, pick our brains and try to see what's best for them for wellness,” Surterra Wellness spokesperson Kim Hawkes said.

Patient Chris Emery, a three-time Marine Corps combat veteran who served in Iraq, stopped by for treatment Tuesday. 

"I have a bit of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and it's really helped even things out,” Emery said. “I don't have mood swings anymore since I've been a patient, and I'm living a happy, healthy life so far."

He said this new location provides more access and convenience for people who prefer a more natural remedy. And for the medical marijuana naysayers, Emery suggests more research.

"You can't overdose on it, and I think if people research and understand the product more, they can get a better understanding of how helpful it can be,” Emery said.

Surterra has a cultivation facility in Hillsborough County that currently serves its 12 locations. It plans to open 10 more wellness centers by the end of the year.