Riverside Gets a Medical Marijuana Dispensary

If you’d asked anyone a few years ago where the medical marijuana business would establish its initial commercial foothold in Jacksonville’s metropolitan area, I’d have probably said Riverside, and so would you. After all, the historic Five Points neighborhood has long been a consistent incubator of progressive values in Northeast Florida, and the contribution to local arts and culture made from within the span of just a few blocks is truly decisive. In terms of sheer talent per square foot, over the course of several decades, the influence of this one particular strip is comparable to almost anywhere in the entire state, and even the politicians have begun to recognize it.

Long before Amendment 2 was even a thing, some folks naturally assumed that the vape shop on Park and Post would eventually transition in that direction, or that someone would set up in one of several then-empty storefronts along that street. But by the time it went into law last January, that block was nearly at full occupancy, and given how much of the industry is driven by out-of-town companies, no one may have even thought about that until recently. All the dispensaries and retail shops have so far been set up far afield, from Orange Park to the Beaches, and the hundreds of medical marijuana card-holders who populate the urban core have had to settle for driving or delivery, until now.

Surterra Wellness opened its new shop on Park Street on Tuesday, July 24. It was about 10 a.m. when the doors were unlocked, and more than 100 people had made their way through by noon. As the community marketing manager for Surterra, Kim Hawkes drove in from Tallahassee to help inaugurate the new location, and she brought a whole team of salespeople from around the state.

The building they acquired, which sits across the street from Jax Federal and right next door to a funeral home, was previously home to The Block Skate Supply, which moved to Springfield last year. It looks more like an IKEA pop-up shop than a dispensary, and that’s by design, literally; the company is keen to counter existing stereotypes of the industry.

Having raised more than $100 million in investment capital, Surterra’s growth prospects are virtually unlimited. This was its ninth store in Florida; a 10th opened in Port Orange the next day; three more are planned for next month, including one in Orange Park. Like most major dispensers of DonnaJuana and Dinkie Dow, Surterra Wellness offers next-day delivery anywhere in the state for a flat $10 fee; others have similar deals. You’ll need your medical care to buy anything, of course, but they offer referrals if need be.


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