Medical marijuana businesses setting up shop in Southwest Florida

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Hazy about medical marijuana laws in Florida? Here are the basics. Wochit

My Florida Green owner Nick Garulay sits at his desk at the My Florida Green office in Naples on Monday, March 26, 2018.(Photo: Olivia Vanni/Naples Daily News)

The medical marijuana industry is starting to take root in Southwest Florida.

Bonita Springs will allow medical marijuana dispensaries to open in the city. One such dispensary recently opened in Fort Myers. Collier County commissioners are debating whether to end their dispensary ban.

More: Bonita Springs to permit medical marijuana dispensaries

More: Medical marijuana shop Curaleaf, the second in Lee County, opens in Fort Myers

Thousands of people have added their names to the state registry and opened to the new medicine.

While gaining access to medical cannabis through dispensaries is becoming easier for residents of Bonita Springs and Collier County, navigating the state’s requirements to become a registered patient can be difficult.

Nick Garulay owns My Florida Green, a medical marijuana certification center. The business, which opened right after the state legalized medical cannabis use, has recommended 1,600 people in Collier and Lee counties as patients and has since expanded to five locations across the state, Garulay said.

Curaleaf has opened Fort Myers’ first medical cannabis dispensary at Colonial Boulevard and Fowler Street. (Photo: Frank Gluck/The News-Press)

A certification center is different than a dispensary. Patients go to a dispensary to pick up approved medical marijuana products such as oils or creams. A certification center has doctors who write “recommendations” and help patients with the state registry.

Doctors avoid the term “prescription,” opting instead to say “recommendation” when it comes to medical cannabis. Because marijuana is still illegal federally, the word “prescription” is avoided for

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