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Cannabis coming to location near St. Johns Town Center by end of the year

A cannabis company called Insa is renovating the Black Creek Outfitters building into flagship Jacksonville cannabis dispensary with immersive lakeside experience.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — * The video above is from a previous story.

The building that Black Creek Outfitters called home near St. Johns Town Center may be outfitting Jacksonville with cannabis by the end of the year.

A cannabis company that began in Springfield, Massachusetts, called Insa, is wanting to lease and renovate the 13,900-square-foot building into a flagship cannabis dispensary. 

Insa's founders and co-owners Pat Gottschlicht and Pete Gallagher describe their business as "cannabis for real life," saying they "offer premium cannabis in a variety of formats and functions to help wind you up, calm you down, ease your ailments and whatever you need in between."

They opened a dispensary in Tampa on Aug. 15.

Insa hopes to open in Jacksonville by the end of the year at 10051 Skinner Lake Drive where Black Creek Outfitters used to be. 

The St. Johns Town Center location at Butler Boulevard and Interstate 295 is situated for easy access, “As soon as we're approved, we will start the renovation in Jacksonville,” the owners said.

The Insa location will house a self-order area, dispensary department, classroom, warehouse and more. 

Insa said they plan to open 10 Florida dispensaries in 2022. After the Tampa and Jacksonville locations, there will be Orlando, Tallahassee, Cape Coral, Clearwater, Hudson, Lake Placid and The Villages.   

Insa would like to make use of the lake behind the building, "The location and space of the store give us an opportunity to make an immersive experience for our customers,” Insa said. “Displays will be on the retail floor, so customers can directly engage with products and learn about the ingredients, formats and benefits."

There is an involved product approval process in Florida. The company said state laws regulate all facets of product distribution. Medical marijuana is legal in Florida but with restrictions.

“We are still working to complete our Florida product profile,” Insa said.

As of now, there are four Insa locations in Massachusetts with wholesale distribution there and across Pennsylvania.

Insa founders and co-owners Pat Gottschlicht and Pete Gallagher grew up in Springfield, MA. Pat ran his family’s German restaurant in Chicopee after college and Pete moved to New York City for a job managing equity funds.

Insa's Pete and Pat answered some questions for First Coast News:

Where does Insa get its product? Where is grown? 

Insa: We are proud to say that Insa is not only a dispensary. We develop, grow and craft all of our products. Our focus is to provide the customer with the highest quality flower, ingredients and products. One of the benefits of being in Florida is that we get to own the process from seed to finished product.

What is it about Insa that sets it apart from other dispensaries?

At Insa, we pride ourselves on our craft and the quality of our flower and ingredients. Ensuring our retail associates are well-trained is at the center of our experience. Our associate training program is continual. We want to have the most knowledgeable staff in the state whether in-store or via our toll-free number.

What has Insa’s experience been so far navigating Florida cannabis laws?

State laws do regulate product distribution. Insa is committed to compliance in all states our product is sold. In Florida, Insa will be focused on servicing the medical community in alignment with state regulations and will offer patients a one-stop for cannabis needs.

And in order to purchase anything with THC, please talk about what is involved. What's the process for getting a medical marijuana card?

Patients and caregivers are required to have an active Medical Marijuana Use Registry identification card to purchase and be in possession of medical marijuana in the state of FL. To be added to the registry, you must first meet with a qualified physician who will enter your information into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. Once that is complete, patients can register for a card online or by mail. At Insa, we want to help educate customers about the process and will be hosting events to help answer these types of questions for potential new customers.

Does Insa think Florida will ever allow recreational use of marijuana? If so, when?

It would be presumptuous for us to comment on the future of recreational use in Florida, or any other state in the US.

I think the cannabis industry will thrive in Jacksonville. Once the retired, golf playing demographic discovers the benefits and natural pain-relieving magic of topical cannabis lotions and oils, I predict there will be communities near Ponte Vedra Beach and Sawgrass fully slathered.

We agree that topicals are an important product to offer our customers. We are in the process of launching our line of topicals in Florida and look forward to sharing more information with you about the products when we get closer to launch.

   

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