MüV’s location on Hendricks Avenue in San Marco

Pending regulatory approvals, Jacksonville’s next medical marijuana dispensary will open in San Marco in June 2019. The neighborhood’s first dispensary will be the first step in an ambitious expansion for AltMed, which operates dispensaries under the MüV brand in Tampa, Apollo Beach, Sarasota and Wellington. Its future plans include a dispensary in Jacksonville Beach, to open later this summer.

AltMed was founded in 2014 and is based in Sarasota. With a mission to “bring compassion, community engagement and pharmaceutical industry precision to the production and distribution of medical cannabis”, the company has operations in Florida and Arizona. Laws in both states mandate a vertically integrated market where companies both grow and sell their own cannabis; they can neither sell to nor buy from other corporations. One of AltMed’s divisions, AltMed Florida, handles cultivation, research and manufacturing for the state from its Apollo Beach facility, while AltMed Arizona does similarly in Arizona. MüV is the company’s dispensary and product brand, and holds the company’s patents and intellectual property.

For the San Marco location, MüV is renovating a 1,500 square foot space in unit 5 of a commercial building at 1550 Hendricks Avenue. Trimar Construction is undertaking the $270 thousand buildout. The opening is targeted for June 7.

Todd Beckwith, AltMed’s Global Marketing Director, said the company chose San Marco for its central location. “This is the first of multiple locations we will have in Jacksonville and wanted to make sure all patients in this region have a convenient MüV location,” said Beckwith. “We always want to make sure our dispensaries have easy access, ample parking and are built to be a location we would be as proud bringing our mother as our friends into.”

The dispensary will feature a full range of products for patients with medical marijuana cards, including cannabis-infused tinctures, oils, and vaporizers. It will offer in-store purchases as well as pickup for online ordering.

The area’s second dispensary will be at 1198 Beach Boulevard, part of the Beach Plaza shopping center in Jacksonville Beach. Beckwith says MüV hopes to open that location in early August. The Jacksonville Beach MüV will have competition, as two other dispensaries from competitors TrueLeaf and MedMen are in the works there.

MüV’s location in Apollo Beach, Florida. Courtesy of MüV Apollo Beach

The San Marco MüV Is one of several dispensaries planned or recently opened in Jacksonville’s urban core. In July 2018, Atlanta-based Surterra Health opened a cannabis clinic at 537 Park Street in Brooklyn, while national provider MedMen is planning its regional flagship location in the former Fans & Stoves building in Riverside’s Five Points district.

Since legalization in 2016, medical marijuana has been a major growth area in Florida, which has the the largest elderly community and the third largest overall population in the country. According to a study by Arcview Market Research, the market will grow to 550,000 registered patients and $1.7 billion by 2022. The number of providers is growing accordingly. AltMed is one of 14 companies licensed to operate dispensaries in the state, and eight more are on on the way as of April 2019.

Inside MüV Apollo Beach. Courtesy of MüV Apollo Beach

To keep up with this demand - and competition - AltMed has implemented an aggressive growth strategy. In addition to the four current dispensaries, Beckwith says the company hopes to add 12 more by the end of the year in every part of Florida. They are also exploring opportunities outside the state. “We currently have licensing interest from 12 states and 5 foreign countries,” said Beckwith. “We will be launching in Colorado in a few months and have a contract to license our MüV products in both Canada and Puerto Rico.”

Beckwith says AltMed hopes to stand out from competitors through the quality of its services. “As the medical cannabis program expands in Florida and patients begin to have more options in their local markets, consistency, quality and service will be key differentiators,” he said. “Our company has a R&D approach with a team of PhD scientists constantly working to introduce new products and improve existing products which is business critical to stay ahead of the curve and best serve patient needs on a long-term basis.”

Article by Bill Delaney. Contact Bill at wdelaney@moderncities.com.