A medical marijuana clinic that stormed into Central Florida less than six months ago is closing a majority of its clinics in the Sunshine State.
- Company to close most of its medical marijuana clinics in Florida
- Tetra Health Care blames state for setbacks, closures
- 1 clinic in Tampa to remain open in Central Florida area
Tetra Health Care, based in California, opened clinics in Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon and Winter Park in the Orlando area earlier this year. The clinics were staffed by trained doctors and nurses who were licensed to give patient recommendations for medical marijuana treatment.
Tetra's clinic on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Tampa will be the only clinic remaining open in Central Florida, with the company blaming state oversight for the shutdowns.
In a released statement, company spokesperson Tanya Ceilo said, "Between the legislative actions that have changed qualifying conditions to the state's delay in issuing medical cards to patients, medical providers like Tetra Health Care are facing serious roadblocks to providing compassionate patient care."
Some in the medical marijuana industry are balking at the excuses Tetra is releasing publicly, saying the state of Florida has actually broadened patient qualifications, as well as drastically improved wait times for state-required identification cards.
"When the law was first passed, the red tape was kind of onerous," said Dr. Lora Brown with Access Marijuana RX in St. Petersburg. "But recently, in the last several months, it has become much easier for patients.”
Brown's practice now manages care of 550 medical marijuana patients, and she said treatment success rates have been high — but profits hard to come by.
"This is not a money-making practice, unfortunately. We are in it because we're seeing great results and we really want to help patients,” Brown said.
Tetra Health Care said it may open clinics in the future in Florida, but right now, the company plans to focus its attention on Florida legislators and improving patient access.