Palm Beach County’s first medical marijuana dispensary is now open for business — the latest sign a budding industry that will serve tens of thousands of people is taking root in South Florida.

About 50,000 Floridians have already registered to use medical marijuana since voters approved its use a year ago, and 21 dispensaries have been approved across the state, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Knox Medical opened the latest dispensary in Florida at noon Tuesday in a former bank building in downtown Lake Worth, making it the first pot shop in South Florida outside Miami-Dade County. City Hall is just across the street, along with the city’s main street filled with restaurants, bars and antique shops.

Knox Medical CEO José Javier Hidalgo said the new dispensary will improve access to medical cannabis for everyone in South Florida by providing a shorter drive for patients in Broward and southern Palm Beach counties desperately needing the medicine. The center at 1 South Dixie Highway is open seven days a week.

“What I am excited about for this area is we are going to begin delivery from this dispensary to throughout South Florida,” he said. “That’s going to shorten the delivery times.”

Step inside the medical marijuana center, and the interior resembles a dentist or doctor’s office. Patients must be buzzed into the shop and check in with clerks behind computers in a reception area. Patients with a state-issued medical marijuana ID card can proceed to a room with glass display cases showcasing Knox Medical’s products.

Marijuana leaves are absent from the center’s decor, and signs don’t advertise medical marijuana is for sale. Knox Medical went mostly with wood paneling and white walls. An armed security guard is stationed at the business, surveillance cameras are abundant and employees must

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