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Entrepreneurs Eye Likely Medical Marijuana Industry in Florida

By: Contributor - Apr 11, 2014, 9:22 am
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Educational Institutions want to train investors on how to open, market, and operate a medical marijuana business. Source: Florida Watchdog.

EspañolThe medical marijuana industrial-complex is in full swing in Florida.

With the question of legalizing medical marijuana heading to voters on the November 4 ballot, entrepreneurs are popping up in an effort to get in on the ground floor of the movement.

Eighteen medical marijuana companies have registered with the state this year. Medical Marijuana of Brevard LLC, Medical Marijuana Business Lawyers LLC, and Medical Marijuana Centers of Florida Inc., are among the first positioning to take advantage of a boom, should Florida voters approve the referendum by a 60 percent margin.

Some, like Daniel Curtis, founder of the Florida Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Institute, are letting the others “mine for the gold” — opting instead to sell the “pick axes” by offering courses and seminars to those who want to jump into the medical-marijuana business.

His courses will focus on the regulatory environment that will shape the market for growers, processors, and retailers.

Curtis will host a regulatory seminar at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday at the iconic Adrienne Arsht Center downtown.

The medical-marijuana referendum, if approved, would allow for cultivation, purchase, possession, and use of medical marijuana to treat certain medical conditions when prescribed by a physician.

Curtis said he’s optimistic the law will pass, noting that state lawmakers are already laying the ground work for the regulatory framework for what could be a billion-dollar legal industry.

Amy Baker, coordinator of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, told the WLRN radio station listeners that growers may get an agricultural tax exemption. There could be tax exemptions for food products or common home remedies, as well.

While the Office of Economic and Demographic Research of Florida says anywhere from 417,252 to 1.3 million may qualify for medical marijuana, it’s no surprise to Curtis, who told Florida Watchdog a steady stream of lawyers, investors, and students are signing up for his courses.

Curtis isn’t the only one cashing in on the cannabis.

Since the opening of Cannabis University of Florida in Jacksonville, seminars costing more than US$300 per person offer to “bring a whole new meaning to higher education” have sold out, according to its website.

Other companies, such as the Cannabis Career Institute, founded in 2009, plans to offer “how-to” seminars in Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando.

If voters approve the measure they can expect more laws to follow.

Already lawmakers are looking to regulate “Charlotte’s Web,” a weaker strain of cannabis that is said to help some children. Lawmakers are also looking a creating a compassionate-use registry, writing guidelines to authorize dispensaries and regulating cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of the plant.

California was the first state to adopt a medical marijuana program in 1996, and was followed by Alaska, Washington, and Oregon in 1998. Maine joined the party in 1999. From 2000 and 2013, more states followed suit, including Colorado, Nevada, Hawaii, Montana, Vermont, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Michigan, Arizona, Washington, D.C.,  New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, and New Hampshire.

This article first appeared with Florida Watchdog.