Folio Weed

UV Rated: Sunburn Cannabis comes to 5 Points

Words by Shelton Hull

The corner of Park and Lomax streets sits at the center of historic 5 Points, which has been the epicenter of the city’s alternative culture for the past half-century, at least. It was inevitable that the neighborhood with probably the highest concentration of stoners per square foot would have its own dispensary by now, but the fact that it has only happened just now is more than curious. The building that once housed Fans & Stoves is currently home to Sunburn Cannabis.

Readers familiar with the area may not be familiar with the name, since that space was originally slated for use by Med Men. The bright red storefront and covered windows were a fixture of the strip for years, but the place never actually opened, even though it should have done so well before the pandemic. Now, that’s a long story.

MedMen opened their first dispensary in Florida in June 2019. That was in West Palm Beach, and they’d added eight more branches within the following year. The 5 Points location would have been the tenth, but it never actually opened. They moved into the former home of Fans & Stoves, which moved around the corner to Lomax Street. Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) approved their application in March 2019, and it was slated to open before the holidays, some 3 1/2 years ago. Thankfully, they never got around to covering up the iconic Shaun Thurston mural on the side of the building, which was actually one of the very first notable mural projects in the city and one that inspired dozens of such pieces around Northeast Florida in the two decades since it was first painted. But significant work had been done on the space, and it seemed to be right on schedule before the work halted. And then the pandemic happened.

MedMen closed their locations in Jax Beach and four other locations in May 2020, leaving only three Florida stores open, while the 5 Points location remained unfinished. And locals heard nothing else about it until Sunburn Cannabis emerged almost spontaneously. This key loss for corporatized cannabis was just as key a gain for the independent operators, at least as independent as one can be under the existing rules. Sunburn has locations in eight different Florida cities. Even if you don’t live in a city with an existing dispensary, they also offer delivery service to 10 zones that include all 67 counties in the state. 

It’s a fresh aesthetic within the genre, at least as it manifests locally. The space is noticeably less sterile than its peers, with the usual antiseptic white linoleum replaced by gorgeous hardwood floors and ceilings that would be welcome in anyone’s home. They also have pool tables and tables with tablets displaying their wares. Of course, all the product is behind the counter, inaccessible without a medical marijuana card, but anyone over 18 is free to walk around. 

As much as one might like the product itself, true stoners will appreciate the extensive lore that attaches to the brand, all of which is detailed on their site. 

Like virtually all dispensaries in Florida, Sunburn offers extensive discounts that rotate every few days, as well as regular discounts for seniors, veterans and first-time customers. The location ensures copious foot traffic, and that will only increase now that summer is here. 

Sunburn’s Twitter account surprisingly has fewer than 700 followers, and they follow no one. But company founder Brady Cobb has more than 14,000 followers on his personal account. The main account recently announced on that they were opening their second grow operation in Florida. Just two days later, Bill Murray himself was seen wearing their t-shirt at his Caddy Shack golf tournament. If all this leads to a Bill Murray appearance in 5 Points someday, that would be just swell! 

Sunburn’s set up in a neighborhood in transition. 5 Points, which was the hub for alternative culture in Northeast Florida for decades, has slowly evolved in a slightly more corporatized direction signified by the arrival of Hoptinger in what was the old Fuel Coffeehouse spot a few years ago. That has driven a shift in the demographics of the strip, at least at night, along with an overall spike in foot traffic, which Sunburn — situated mere feet away from the iconic streetlight and new surrounding roundabout  — has already benefited from.

About Shelton Hull

Shelton Hull has been writing for Folio Weekly since 1997, but his resume goes back even further. He has written for almost every newspaper, magazine and zine in Northeast Florida, as well as publications like Orlando Weekly, Narrow GNV, Creative Loafing Tampa, Charleston City Paper, Ink19 and The Atlantic. He currently writes the "Folio Weed" column, which he created in 2018; he remains one of the widest-read and most influential cannabis writers in the world today. He also compiles material for "Weird Wild Stuff" column, and he previously wrote the legendary "Money Jungle" column for Folio Weekly from 1999 to 2009. He is a regular contributor to "First Coast Connect" on WJCT, as well as the Jacksonville Music Experience. He is a co-host of "The Contrast Project" and the "Bold City Civics" podcast. He is also a co-founder of the record label Bold City Music Productions. He can be reached at [email protected].