Focused on a rapid string of store openings in emerging legalized U.S. cannabis markets, Green Thumb Industries (CSE:GTII; OTCQX: GTBIF) officially launched retail location number 28 this morning. 

The company operates both the Essence and Rise dispensary chains, the latter of which has focused heavily on Florida operations in the last six months.  

Today the Rise chain saw the addition of its fifth Florida store, this time opening in Hallandale Beach. 

Previously opened Rise Florida locations include Oviedo, Bonita Springs, Deerfield Beach, and Pinellas Park.

Discussing the newest addition to the chain, Green Thumb Industries CEO Ben Kovler commented:

We’re thrilled to be the first to bring medical cannabis to Hallandale Beach and introduce the community to our Rythm and The Feel Collection products, available at Rise stores. We are diligently executing on our strategic plan to scale the business in the markets we serve including Florida.

Those two product lines are cultivated and manufactured at a site in Homestead, Florida before being shipped to the five current Rise locations across the state.  

The company currently holds licenses for an additional 30 prospective Rise medical dispensary locations that can be opened throughout Florida in the coming years. 

While medical usage is now legal, adult recreational cannabis usage remains illegal under Florida law, although that may change in the near future.  

Democratic state representative Shervin Jones is preparing to file a bill for the 2020 legislative session that would fully decriminalize possession of up to 20 g of marijuana, removing all criminal penalties for carrying small amounts. 

Aside from state legislative attempts to change cannabis laws, direct citizen action may see full legalization make it onto the Florida ballot next year. Advocacy group Regulate Florida gained enough petition signatures earlier this summer to trigger a state Supreme Court review of a potential legalization ballot initiative 

Support for cannabis has grown in Florida since medical usage was approved, with the town council of Cutler Bay passing a resolution earlier this month supporting state-wide recreational legalization on the grounds of economic improvement. 

Aside from growth in the Florida medical market, Green Thumb Industries has also been opening additional Rise locations in both Ohio and Massachusetts this year.  

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