LONGWOOD, Fla. – An old Taco Bell was transformed into Central Florida's newest medical marijuana dispensary, complete with a drive-thru option for patients to pick up their products.
This may look like a Taco Bell, but burritos aren’t on the menu! @AltMedFL opened its first #medicalmarijuana dispensary in Central Florida, complete with a drive thru window. We’ll take you inside for a look at this unique location at 5:30 & 7PM on @news6wkmg #News6 pic.twitter.com/vj3bNDAbYG— Amanda Castro (@AmandaNCastro) May 24, 2019
AltMed Florida opened its first Central Florida location at 1090 S State Road 434 in Longwood on Friday.
Patients, including Joseph Myerson, started lining up more than an hour before the store opened.
"It's been life-changing," Myerson said.
The old fast food restaurant was refurbished into a sleek medical marijuana dispensary. AltMed co-founder and chairman Mike Smullen said the company wants customers to feel comfortable in its stores.
"We want people to come in and not feel in any way intimidated and we don't want them to feel that they're doing something that isn't accepted by physicians and the general community," Smullen said. "I think a store like this sends the message loud and clear that that's what we're about."
Smullen said the new location is getting results for patients by giving them more options for treatment in their backyard.
"It's all about access and it's all about providing a high-quality product that offers consistent delivery to those patients," Smullen said.
Employees only let a certain amount of patients inside the building at a time. Patients check in with staff and provide their state medical marijuana card. Employees then help customers shop the company's MÜV medical cannabis products, including flowers,vape pens and unique delivery methods such as gels and inhalers.
"We really have a product for just about every need out there in the medical cannabis space," Smullen said.
A unique feature of the location is the drive-thru from the old Taco Bell. Patients can call ahead or place their order online and schedule a pickup in which they can drive up to the window to purchase their products.
"I think it's going to offer a unique experience for patients that want to get in a bit more quickly or maybe want a little bit more privacy in the way they're picking up their product," Smullen said.
Myerson said he was anxiously waiting for the store to open. He suffers from PTSD and has been using medical marijuana since January 2018.
"It's a blessing to have a thing that's usable and useful," Myerson said.