Smoking cannabis delivers relief easy and quickly
Growing personal cannabis is part of the excitement. Gardening is therapy.

There are two main components in the foundation of a cannabis industry that sets the stage for everything else. Growing it and smoking it. It’s part of the deal. Florida’s medical marijuana program prohibits both. Amendment 2, permits only the purchase of extracted oils from cannabis grown in closed to the public cultivation facilities and prohibits the sale of cannabis flower for smoking. It effectively removes the two elements that make the industry so exciting, inviting, successful and full of hope. The elements that allow everyone to feel like a part of something new, in their time.

I appreciate the early days of legal medical marijuana in Colorado. The level of appreciation has risen since I moved to Florida. Nonetheless, I’m happy to have the opportunity to observe such a dramatic contrast in Florida’s medical cannabis program.

HB1397 prohibits smoking cannabis. John Morgan is challenging the state.

I am not happy for the tens of thousands that had hopes of a new life. A new beginning. A new career. It could have been wonderful.

I’m sad for the millions of patients that had hopes for a legal and easy way to access affordable cannabis and consume it in a fashion which they decide in the privacy and safety of their home.

I’m disappointed along with the millions more that are afflicted with conditions not included as a qualifier to receive cannabis legally.

I’m grateful for those who face the daily risk of cultivation. They are on the high road and provide healing relief to those who otherwise would have none. The cannabis opposition have steadily presented society with the image of a ‘Black Market’ grower as dangerous, unscrupulous and someone we don’t want in our block. This propaganda has turned mild-mannered gardeners into perceived dangerous criminals.

Millions of advocates worked for years to bring people together on Amendment 2. The lawmakers ignored the numbers.

I feel compassion for the thousands of cannabis advocates across the state. I’m sad your efforts didn’t earn more respect from our Representatives and Senators during legislation.  You delivered a strong message from the people. Everyone now knows where politicians stand in their support.

I feel betrayed by the elected lawmakers of Florida and the Governor for not supporting the cause of 71.3%. It’s unlikely I will ever witness another legislative session that so blatantly abandoned their constituents regarding Amendment 2.

Florida has robbed hope from millions.

Colorado adapted the medical marijuana dispensary model in 2010 and the Colorado “Green Rush” was born. Easy access and fair prices for the patients. Unlimited job and career opportunities. Everyone who was a registered patient in Colorado could grow cannabis. Caregivers could grow more.

Hydroponic stores are a gardeners delight.

The number of hydroponics stores exploded. Some took growing to a higher level, some only grew a few. But it seemed like everyone was growing. It became an enormously popular hobby.

Home Depot and Lowe’s seen sales increases, because home growers were building like crazy. Electricians had all the work they wanted after regular hours helping customers safely wire their grow room.

When the cannabis conferences began in Denver, the vendors numbered in the hundreds. I walked in the Denver Convention Center for hours learning about new products from soil to fans and carbon filters. Vendors were excited and anxious to talk.

Cannabis growing conventions contribute to local economy.
Women groups organizing cannabis cultivation business

There was excitement in the air. Finally, an opportunity for everyone to register and grow legally. It was like a wonderful county fair came to town and never left. A new injection of entrepreneurship. Those who were already growing now had a legitimate way to generate income. New hope for thousands.

Colorado allowed Cannabis to be free. Patients enjoyed easy access to daily relief.  It opened a free market guided by free enterprise, which ushered in a whole new economy and attitude for Colorado. Hundreds of ancillary businesses were established providing thousands of new jobs across the state.

At the early cannabis conferences in Florida, people look for opportunities within an industry they thought would much different.

“I’ve been chasing this industry since 2013.” Said one attendee at the Zonk Family Conference in Tampa. “So much has changed from what I thought it would be. Now, we’re really locked out of any new opportunities.”

Her friend chimed in. “I was at another conference a few months ago. It’s the same vibe going on here.” She said. “These people are looking for something to be excited about and they’re not finding it in Florida.”

Job fairs for the cannabis industry draw thousands.

Any day on Craigslist in Denver, there will be a large selection of job opportunities such as this when you enter marijuana in the search field:

Jul 7 Marijuana Edible Production (6th & Bryant)

Jul 6 MARIJUANA GROW ASSISTANT/GROWER NEEDED (Denver, CO)

Jul 6 MARIJUANA HARVESTERS / TRIMMERS (Denver, CO)

Jul 2 Wanted – Marijuana Facilities Maintenance Employee / Full Time Handyma

Jul 2 Wanted – Entry Level Worker – Marijuana Extraction Facility (Aurora)

Jul 1 Marijuana Bud-tender Position in Denver (Denver)

Jun 30 MARIJUANA INFUSED PRODUCTS- PACKAGING POSITION AVAILABLE

Jul 10 Marijuana packaging/trimming position (Wheat Ridge)

Jun 29 Traveling Marijuana Trim Staff (Around Colorado)

Jul 9 MARIJUANA CULTIVATION TECHNICIANS NEEDED (I-70 and Colorado BLVD)

This is what you get in Tampa:

Determining THC % and cannabinoid profile in addition to pesticide residuals.

The medical marijuana program in Florida must be rolled out by October 3, 2017. Twelve weeks away. We’re not seeing any advertising for available jobs in the industry.

Indoor growing facilities throughout the state can employ thousands.
Efficient extraction systems allow for high volume production.

It’s going to take thousands of people to perform all the necessary functions of cultivating from vegetation to harvest and curing. There are labs that test the product. And the extraction labs that derive concentrated oils from the plant.

The security companies and software POS. The state approved kitchens that will manufacture the edible products. The increased need for trash pick-ups, maintenance within facilities, product delivery …. the list is quite long.

For a state with 20 million people, we’re not seeing signs of gearing up in preparation for a huge response.

To put it in a better perspective, Colorado reported $1.1 billion in sales for 2016. About 60%, or $600 million reflected flower sales. Average cost of an ounce of cannabis is $250. That equates to 150,000 lbs. or 2,400,000 ounces annually. Each month, 200,000 ounces of cannabis must be ready for sale. Assuming a dry yield of 4 ounces per plant, that breaks down to 50,000 plants required each month to satisfy the demand.

Greenhouses with light deprivation provide perfect environment.

The state of Colorado must harvest 50,000 plants that average 6 ounces every month. Average weight after drying and curing would be an estimated 4 ounces.

If everything goes right, a new clone will require 16 weeks to reach harvest. The goal is to have nearly 50,000 plants ready to enter the flowering cycle each month.

This means every month 50,000 clones will be cut. 50,000 transplants into larger pots. 50,000 plants to harvest and trim. 50,000 plants to dry and cure. 50,000 plants to package/further process.

For the supply to match the demand, there is always over 600,000 plants in production.

With a population of 5.47 million, Colorado has 15 million fewer people than Florida with a population of 21 million. 600,000 plants x 4 = 2.4 million plants in the system always. A minimum harvest of over 200,000 plants each month would be required in Florida. Remember, this figure represents only 60% of total sales.

Cannabis in Florida could result in tens of thousands of jobs.

Since Florida will have no flower for sale, there are too many variables to estimate what amount of cannabis oil will be sold and how many plants will have to be sowed.

The point is, there will be a large amount of jobs to be filled. Or so it would seem.

In Colorado, approximately 16,000 people are licensed to work in the industry. In Florida, it could be four times that number.

But we don’t know. Information on the status of the ramp up for the big day in Colorado was easily available. We knew what dispensary owners were gearing up for, how many growing operations were in place, hiring numbers and other information that would provide the people with a good idea of what was to come.

 

 

 

 

Inside Surterra Therapeutics’ Cultivation Center

 

 

Trulieve opens medical marijuana dispensary in Tampa

 

 

Management of a Florida marijuana operation changes hands

 

 

Hackney owner eager to be local medical marijuana dispensary

 

 

 

 

Behind the scenes with Miami’s lone medical marijuana grower

 

 

We don’t know much about the status of the state approved growing facilities in Florida. It would be interesting to know the numbers being cultivating in Florida to prepare for the official beginning of Amendment 2, October 3.

It would also be interesting to know more about the extraction process, the testing process, the tracking process, the oil yields from flower, how many employees they maintain, what are the wages and will they be Florida residents? Will every product sold be manufactured on site? We should expect complete transparency although it doesn’t appear that is the plan.

Time will provide a more accurate account of how successful the Florida medical marijuana program will be and how it will evolve over the next 2 years.

At this point, there is one thing we know to be so. The excitement in Colorado won’t be coming to Florida anytime soon.

The lawmakers robbed that hope from millions.

 

 

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