ST. GEORGE — For the first time, St. George has its own medical cannabis pharmacy. Bloc Dispensary held its grand opening Saturday morning, giving locals an avenue for the alternative treatment.
The dispensary held a ribbon cutting ceremony and invited vendors and food trucks to the event. Patients poured in, purchasing their medical cannabis in St. George.
“Never in my 47 years of life did I think this would happen,” Steve Stewart, a patient, said. “To me, it still sometimes feels like a dream.”
Bloc Dispensary, a subsidiary of Justice Cannabis Co., offers several forms of product, from flower to vapes, edibles and tinctures. Products are presented in glass classes in a well-lit white room designed to be welcoming and destigmatizing to the idea of using marijuana as a medicine.
Guests took tours of the facility, purchased products if they had a medical marijuana card and interacted with the staff.
By all accounts, the St. George community has been equally welcoming to the pharmacy. Dre Trobradovic, national director of sales for Justice Cannabis, said they received thousands of applications from prospective employees.
“It was really exciting sitting down and meeting with these people because I’m obviously not from St. George and it was my first time in St. George, so I really got a taste of the community and what the folks are like just through the applicants,” Trobradovic said. “Everybody seemed so supportive, so excited to be able to offer this in a community where not a lot of people saw it coming, necessarily.”
Trobradovic, two managers and a pharmacist gave brief, impromptu speeches over a speaker system in front of the store before the two managers cut the ribbon and ceremoniously launched a new era in St. George. Cedar City’s Bloom Medicals opened on June 1, the same day as Bloc’s soft opening. They are the only two dispensary licenses of Utah’s 14 total in the Southern Utah area.
It gives a prominent retiree community an opportunity to explore alternative medicine, which has prompted a strong community response.
“I thought the response would be really hesitant,” Cassie Parker, communications director, told St. George News. “But as a pharmacy agent here, I ran into a customer service issue and I had to call the customer service desk. The lady that helped me over the phone … she explained that her husband was a retired police officer who was suffering from part of the opioid addiction crisis here in Utah. She let me know how excited she was for her husband to be able to find a solution close to home.”
In Utah, medical marijuana cards are required to be eligible to purchase from these dispensaries. The qualifications range from chronic pain to PTSD to cancer and others. A full list of qualifying conditions is available here. More than 23,000 people were qualified cardholders in the state as of February 2021.
For some people, turning to cannabis can be life-changing.
“My quality of life has increased by ten-fold,” Stewart said. “Just the sleep I get … I have chronic pain in my back. I’ve done physical labor my whole life and as I get older, I find it harder to do and I have a hard time sleeping.”
Trobradovic said that one of the goals of the dispensary is to help educate those who are curious about medical cannabis. She said that a patient, after getting their medical card from a doctor, will meet with a staff pharmacist to go over product options and answer questions.
More information on the dispensary, located at 1624 South Convention Center Drive, is available on its website.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.