To understand where we came from, it’s important to know the timeline of events within Florida in terms of medical cannabis.
- May 1, 2014: Florida Legislature passes Senate Bill 1030 called the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014.”
- June 16, 2014: Florida Governor Rick Scott signs bill into law.
- May 27, 2015: Detailed rules regarding restrictions and implementation of “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014” approved.
- June 2016: Alpha Surterra expected to begin dispensing low-THC cannabis to patients in the Tampa Bay area (southwest region).
On November 8, 2016, the Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that expanded the state’s limited medical cannabis program. Receiving over 6.5 million votes, Amendment 2 passed with a 71.3 percent majority. The next day, November 9th, plans were laid to create a new kind of clinical practice of medicine in Southwest Florida. Dr. Barry Gordon and Patrick DeLuca formulated what would become the clinical model of cannabis practice within the state.
After launching a simple website on Thanksgiving day, thousands of people signed up for a mailing list. On December 15, 2016, we began scheduling our first appointments for after the first of the year. Nearly 100 appointments filled within an hour. By the time we saw our first patient on January 3, 2017, we had booked our entire first month.
From January until the end of September, we treated over 1,000 patients from our small, one-exam room office. Rather than build out into multiple satellite practices, we decided to build inward and expand our initial vision of a premiere center of cannabis medicine. On September 25, 2017, we began seeing patients within our new state of the art facility.
Our patient base is diverse. The average age of our patients is 53.55 years, with our youngest being 3 and our oldest being 98. Most of our patients live within a 20 mile radius of the practice, but some have traveled from as far away as Orlando, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale.
In addition to our clinical work, the Compassionate Cannabis Clinic has been recognized as leaders in the fight for patient access. Dr. Gordon and Patrick have tirelessly advocated for Floridians, both at the local and state level. We routinely welcome other physicians, elected officials, and advocates into our practice to learn how this new way of medicine functions from a realistic perspective.