Listen to it on PodCast or Watch the YouTube on Florida Cannabis Laws For the specific Florida Cannabis Lawyer that we interview – visit Mr. Cannabis Law, Dustin Robinson, at his website: Mr. Cannabislaw.com
Status of Florida Cannabis / Marijuana Laws
“Florida Cannabis Laws” suffer from an overwhelmingly aging and conservative population that still holds an un just stigma regarding cannabis, which is called marijuana legally in the state of Florida. Florida has a robust medical marijuana program with approximately 300,000 patients. Full legalization of marijuana in Florida will probably arise from a ballot initiative as its medical marijuana law came about – look for 2022 for the vote on legalizing marijuana in Florida.
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According to the current Florida cannabis laws, even the small amounts of marijuana are illegal in this state. The officials claim that possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense. These are the current Florida cannabis regulation rules.
How will this change in the future, and will we be able to see some change in Florida cannabis rules? At this moment, we can see the history of cannabis laws in Florida. Medical marijuana is legalized in this state, while recreational use of marijuana in Florida is still under the question.
What are the Current Florida Cannabis Laws?
If you possess 20 grams or less of marijuana, you can be fined with a maximum fine of $1,000. You can also get a maximum sentence of one year in a local country jail. This kind of misdemeanor is less serious than a felony. To be qualified for a felony, you must possess more than 20 grams of marijuana.
The consequences are huge if you sell marijuana. This applies to areas within 1,000 feet of a school, college, park, or another felony punishable specified area. You can get a maximum fine of $10,000 and a maximum sentence of 15 years. These are the current rules for the possession and delivery of marijuana in Florida.
The rules are under the huge revision, especially because of the list of bills that could change the Florida marijuana industry. The Florida Supreme Court could decide to change the regulatory rules for marijuana in Florida by the end of 2020.
In 2016, 70% of the voters in Florida opted to legalize medical marijuana as part of a constitutional amendment. By the end of 2017, medical marijuana has been legalized in the form of edibles, pills, oil, and vapes. It was a huge step for Florida patients who wanted to use medical marijuana for different medical conditions.
The cultivation of hemp in Florida became a standard in the industry. This was part of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services program from 2019. This led to the so-called “green rush” in this state which created many options for small and mid-sized businesses.
Now, In 2020, the announced bills support the initiative for marijuana legalization in Florida. The initiative has many devoted supporters, and the official legislation is about to change completely.
Which Cannabis Laws in Florida Will Change in 2020?
There are huge predictions that the recreational use of marijuana in Florida will be possible from 2020. This is an announcement from the official Florida marijuana initiatives. They claim that the recreational use of marijuana might change the whole perspective of the industry.
Many companies will open dispensaries and stores where cannabis products will be possible to buy. This will increase business opportunities for farmers, growers, and sellers.
At the same time, during 2020, marijuana use under better conditions will be possible for veterans. The license holders will be able to grow, process, test, and sell the products without the middlemen. The expanded list of diseases will be added for possible treatment with medical marijuana. And the current penalties for marijuana possession will be reconsidered by the court.
All of these changes will be coming in 2020. The new Florida cannabis rules will be a huge change for Florida residents who want to use marijuana legally.
The Sooner The Better
Florida cannabis legalization rules will bring major changes in the overall marijuana perspective in this state. By now, 11 states legalized marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Marijuana is legal for medical use in 33 states.
In the future, we will witness an increase in the overall marijuana consumption rate. Especially among the patients who are using marijuana for medical purposes. The residents of Florida will be able to use marijuana for recreational purposes if all the bills take action during 2020.
Florida is opening its doors for huge changes in the marijuana industry, and the trend continues to grow. Cultivation, dispensary, and distribution should bring huge opportunities for businesses and small companies. With marijuana legalization in Florida, we will also be able to use and legally buy marijuana. This will be a huge step forward in the change of Florida cannabis laws.
Today we’re going to be talking all about Florida cannabis laws. Hi everybody, my name’s Tom Howard. If you need anything, you can Google Cannabis Lawyer and you’ll be able to find me. But today we have a very special episode. We’re going to be talking all about Florida cannabis laws with Dustin Robinson. Dustin, thank you for joining us.
Dustin Robinson – Top Cannabis Lawyer In Florida
Yeah, you know how that role. Fortunately we’re doing a lot better than we were earlier. Anyway, that’s what happens when you have a coast to coast show. Where are you coming from Dustin?
I’m here in Florida. I’m in sunny South Florida. It’s beautiful weather out here.
So you’re not wearing fur lined pants like I am here because it’s like 25 degrees outside.
Yeah, no, it’s beautiful out. I was out on the boat yesterday. Today’s a work day. Beautiful sunshine right out the window.
What type of things are you working on in Florida cannabis?
What’s Going on With Cannabis Laws in Florida?
We’ve got a lot of different stuff going on here in Florida, obviously not counting that stuff going on on the hemp side. We’ve got a lot of stuff at the marijuana side. Just a little quick history here in Florida. We licensed several, what we call MMTCs down here, Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers. Those are vertically integrated licenses here in Florida. They were licensed through the Department of Health. And then after that there were several lawsuits here in Florida. So basically right now we have 22 licensees and a vast majority of those licenses were provided through settlement agreements, outside of [crosstalk 00:01:47], say that again.
That’s interesting, because here in Illinois they’re thinking about how they should be budgeting to sue the state and they have extra licenses kind of built up into the statutory maximum. So I’m wondering if a lot of the settlement agreements will be for licenses?
Yeah, well it’s, I would say that any state that is doing any licensing needs to allocate significant resources to having to litigate. I know Missouri just announced their winners. I was working with a couple of teams on the Missouri applications and the good application writers, when they’re drafting it, they are drafting it so that they can set themselves up to be able to bring a cause of action to the extent that they don’t get a license. So that’s actually a strategy that a lot of people use. And here in Florida the licenses were valued so highly. I mean we have-
Vertical Integration of Cannabis Businesses in Florida
Yeah. So you would get … The piece of paper was selling for $60 million. That’s it, no real estate, no operations. So with so much on the line, people don’t mind paying $1 million in attorney fees to try to get that $50 million license. Whereas in other States, the value of the license may not be as high. If you have the piece of paper’s worth, let’s say, $500,000 or a million, you might be less inclined to pay an attorney few hundred grand litigating over it. But when the licenses are worth 50 million, you’re like, “You know what, I’ll take my swing at it.” And sometimes other people are financing that litigation that see opportunities-
Hang on. And isn’t that … No, that’s not verity. What is it when, wait … champerty that’s champerty and unfortunately we’re going to have to learn some arcane legal terms. So people were, you’re not allowed to do that. It’s legitimately a thing, champerty and maintenance. Well, in theory you’re not supposed to be able to do Champerty is like an inter meddling of a distance party to encourage a lawsuit. Well that’s maintenance this is. But it’s essentially the same type of thing where somebody else that’s not the person who is related to the lawsuit has a financial interest in it. So I guess they allow champerty in Florida?
I had actually never heard that terminology. But I mean, at the end of the day, there’s often times where people have lawsuits and they can’t finance them and other people come in to finance a lawsuit in exchange for something. So yeah, I think the champerty thing is probably more focused on this-
Oh, it’s from the feudal times-
But so you think there’d be some impropriety if you’re going out and you’re trying to find people to file a lawsuit? That’s probably what that’s aimed towards, but this is an instance where people wanted to file a lawsuit. They just didn’t have the capital to spend $1 million on it. So they went in and found investors that were willing to finance a lawsuit in exchange for some equity. And then they got a license and were able to flip it for $55, $60 million. So obviously now they issued … They just recently issued eight new licenses through a settlement. They’re called the one pointers. These are people that scored within one point in the initial application process. So right now we have eight licensees out of the 22 that are pretty new and they are trying to raise capital to run a vertically integrated company. [crosstalk 00:05:08] It costs about $20 million.
When you say vertical, you mean that they grow, that they store, that they process, they’re all in one, right? And that’s the structure for Florida.
Yeah, so what’s crazy in Florida is they have to, they have to grow, process, dispense and deliver. And you can’t contract out any of that. So it’s not like there’s any delivery companies that are doing the delivery. Each individual entity has their own delivery service. And you could imagine that becomes pretty inefficient if you have some two neighbors right next to each other. One is ordering from one dispensary, the other is ordering from another dispensary and you got two cars driving to deliver to close proximity. It would make more sense if there was a delivery service that was able to pick up from both of those dispensaries in one car. And so there’s certain inefficiencies and there’s a couple of bills in this next legislative session and they were trying to figure. There’s actually a Florida Supreme court, so lower courts have actually deemed that structure to be against our Florida constitution.
What did the Florida, because let’s talk about how Florida became a medical marijuana state.
How Medical Marijuana Began in Florida
Florida first we had a statute which is basically just very, very low THC marijuana-
It sounded a lot like West Virginia. We were talking about in the back, West Virginia, you can’t get flower, you can’t even get vapes, nothing smokable and you have to process. Is that how Florida started? You weren’t allowed to have flower?
Yeah. So, Florida’s, I’m actually working on a West Virginia app right now and yeah, that’s how West Virginia looks. And yeah, Florida started off only with very, very simple and low doses. But what we basically came through with is, there was a constitutional amendment. Constitutional amendment basically said that these MMTCs, Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers could grow, process, dispense or deliver. So it had that word or in our Florida constitution. And then in 2017 when the legislator went to enact that constitutional amendment, they call it … They said that it was grow, process, dispense and to deliver, essentially creating this vertically integrated entity that has to do all of them.
The difference between the conjunctive and mandatory versus the permissive. One of them is conjunctive and the other one is, I’m not sure what they call it.
Conjunctive / Disjunctive and Florida Marijuana Laws
Yeah, I get asked a lot about this court case and [inaudible 00:07:38] and someone’s like, “Oh, it’s too complicated. I don’t need to know the legal stuff.” I’m like, “No, it’s very simple. It’s the difference between an and or. The constitution uses the word or which means you could either cultivate, process, dispense or deliver. The Florida statute came in and use the word and, which means that the entity needs to basically do all of those things.” So right now the Florida Supreme court is taking on that case and all signs are pointing towards them affirming that ruling, which would essentially mean the vertical integration would be broken up and they’d have to come back and create a horizontal structure down here.
It’s the conjunctive versus the disjunctive. So the conjunctiva is and, and the disjunctive is or. No I like it. This is like, because it is at its core. We talk about cannabis legalization from a legal perspective as opposed to from a policy perspective. But there’s a lot of policy that goes on in that conversations. And so just like in Florida or in Illinois, we’ll have lawsuits and you fight over the meaning of the word and or, I mean that’s literally what it is. And when they say, “Or,” it’s supposed to be in that disjunctive there. And so by vertically integrating it and then also by building in an extra $100,000, $250,000 for suing the state so you can settle for a license. That has put the price of a cannabis license, not just in the State of Florida, but anywhere way higher than it should have been or could be.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. The licenses are super high and quite honestly, the department of health is spending tons of money on litigating this and they don’t have the resources to do it. And it’s also taking away from their budget to actually enforce the actual provisions that the MMTC should be following. And so there’s actually not as much enforcement as there should be, just because the DOH really doesn’t have the resources.
It doesn’t. It’s my understanding that there’s only like four players in Florida. Is that true? Like how many-
Original Florida Marijuana Licenses
So the original licensing was like, I think they licensed four or five players. So those guys had a huge head start on the market. And then in subsequent to that they licensed, and now we’re up to 22 licensees. Right now there’s only about eight or nine that are really operational. Out of those eight or nine, four or five of them are really dominating, because they had a huge headstart.
So there’s no cap, so the dispensary and the statute, they said they’re capped at 25 dispensaries. So not only could they grow, process and dispense, and unlike in Illinois where they’re capped for their craft gross size at 5,000 square feet. In Florida, you’re not capped on your grow. You’re not capped on your processing. And for dispensing, you’re limited to 25 locations. But when you get up to a … As we get to … Every 100,000 patients, you get another five dispensaries. So right now we’re at over 300,000 patients. So each of these vertically integrated entities can essentially have 25 plus basically about 40 dispensaries.
And there was also some lawsuits that actually allow some of those licensees to even open up even more dispensaries. So that’s why they refer to is super licenses. And it costs obviously a tremendous amount of money to not only grow, not only process, but also to try to open up all these dispensing locations, so.
It seems the state of Florida gave four people the advantage. Four-
It wasn’t four people, it was four Florida men. And then it wasn’t those four people. It’s not like there’s four guys sitting around, sitting on 20 million each and they’re just all throwing in. These had to be organizations that came together and put a lot of capital and a lot of talent in the street, because otherwise you’re not going to be able to grow that fast.
Well, I mean even to correct that, it’s not even Florida men. And that’s what a lot of people in Florida get pretty upset about is that licenses were issued to farmers here in Florida and there was some requirements that they were running a nursery for 30 years. But right when they got that license they were sold to big MSOs. So right now, Florida, pretty much all of the licenses that are operational are owned by very, very large MSOs that have nothing to do. They’re not Florida men, they’re not Florida people. They’re not even Florida companies. They’re just enormous enterprises. But you know, in the farmer’s defense, a lot of people give these farmers a lot of slack for selling off these licenses. But the reality is, is that with banking being as challenging as it is and with it being vertically integrated and so expensive to become operational, these farmers, some of them might be wealthy farmers, they may have one million or two million, they don’t have 20 million.
So they really have no option. They can’t go to a bank to get a loan. They really have no option but to sell it off for equity. And that’s what they did. So, I don’t think it’s necessarily the farmer’s fault. I think the whole system was a little flawed. But you know what, at the end of the day it’s a new system and I think Florida is actually doing a pretty good job. I think the vertical integration did help with a lot of different issues. But I think we’re at a point where we definitely got to change over to horizontal.
Well, do you think … I mean, because if they don’t change over the horizontal or give you guys more opportunity, those four people are just going to watch the good growers get good at it and then buy them. I mean, essentially they’ll, if there’s no cap, because here in Washington we have-
So basically what you’re saying, unlike in Illinois where we have these caps about license holding so nobody can dominate the industry. In Florida it looks like, and it sounds like in Washington you have the exact opposite problem where you have some big players that are comprising the vast majority of what’s going on. And then it’s just impossible to get into the game.
Yeah. And just to be clear, in Florida no one entity could have more than 5% interest in one license. So it’s not like you could … One entity in Florida can then buy up another license. But yes, I mean there’s not really a cap.
No, the licenses have to be separate. So there’s really no reason for them to merge under one license. I mean that license has $50 million worth of value. So why would you merge them into one license when you have that much value? So, I mean you do see some of like MedMen, they just did a big layoff down here. I know they had big plans for their dispensaries and they laid off a tremendous amount of people. And really a lot of them, MedMen and Surterra were financing the petition down here to go for recreational, and they put up tremendous capital, and obviously they were betting on recreational to come through-
What’s going on with Florida recreational legalization for 2020?
Absolutely. So there was two groups regulate Florida and then there was the MILF petition. So regulate Florida really got started pretty early. Their problem was they weren’t getting the support of the 22 licensees, so they really didn’t have the funding to get the signatures. You need over 700,000 signatures to get it on the ballot here in Florida. And they got up to a little over a hundred thousand, it got to Supreme court review, which was fantastic that they were able to get it to that point. But then MILF came on board and they were funded by MedMen and Surterra and a lot of people were upset with some the language in that petition. I was upset because I just want everyone to work together. It’s very frustrating that we’re fighting with one another if we all just would have come together.
So now you have Regulate Florida that’s got 100,000 signatures. You’ve got MILFS that’s got a couple hundred thousand signatures. The Time was ticking, basically they had to have a certain amount by February, they weren’t going to hit it. So they basically bowed out. So it’s unfortunate, they had the opportunity to come together and I think if they came together we could have seen it legalized. The biggest issue is home grow. I know you just mentioned at the beginning of the show that you’re trying to fight on homegrown. The MILF petition didn’t have anything in there relating to home grow, to regulate Florida.
Now you say this MILF petition, did you unpack the MILF petition? Because I’m hearing MILF and I’m like, “I think that should have gotten more signatures, especially in Florida.” What does that stand for?
MLF Marijuana Legalization Florida
You know what, I call it the MILF petition. It’s a good question.
It’s marijuana legalization in Florida. [crosstalk 00:15:50] But the fact that you said MILF, that should’ve been their freaking, they should have marketed that after that, because [crosstalk 00:15:59]-
And you’ve got, you’ve alluded it. Yeah, but that’s kind of an issue where you’re like, “Okay, so you have these two competing [inaudible 00:16:08] initiatives and then you’ve just, you’ve made your job twice as hard. And then again, was home grow going to be provided for medical patients and either of them? Or what was the home grow issue that one splintered off from the other?
So really Regulate Florida was the grassroots movement of the everyday person that really, really just wants marijuana legalization. The MILF movement was really backed by the MedMen and Surterra and it was to their benefit to not include anything related to home grow. Of course they’ll argue that they were silent with respect to home grow and they’re going to leave it to the legislator and they had their reasons for leaving home grow out of it. They said that it would complicate the constitutional amendment and in order to get a constitutional amendment you want to keep it simple and they wanted to keep it, like the MILF petition was extremely simple, extremely short. Regulate Florida petition was extremely long with extremely large amount of detail in it, so-
The question I had about Florida and also Washington State’s like it and [inaudible 00:17:11] it’s not. I guess it’s a two part question. First, could the legislature in Florida actually get their act together and put together a statute? Because when you’re talking about a ballot initiative, this would be a second part. You put what’s supposed to amend the constitution on that and it’s usually quite short. Who interprets that, and make rules so that it can actually be a legislative rubric like we have or need with cannabis as an industry?
Yeah. So right now we have actually Senator Jeff Brandes put out Senate bill 1860 which is for adult use, actually in the last legislative session house representative Michael Grieco, he actually put out a recreational bill as well. He knew it didn’t, I’m friends with Michael, he told me it doesn’t really have a shot. But he wanted to send the message, “Hey, this is something we at least want to have as part of the discussion last year.” So this year Jeff Brandes filed this bill 1860. It’s a good bill. I support it. It does have, I know we talked a lot about the social equity components of Illinois statute. It has a component, it allows for expungement of criminal stuff. So to some extent there is some social equity component there-
But it doesn’t give any points for the applicants to have the cannabis arrest or anything.
Exactly, yeah. I mean out in Illinois, as you know, you get 20% of the points if you’re applying with someone with ownership and control of that entity. And so that’s a huge amount of points. So anyone who is not applying with a social equity is pretty much, they have no chance. So they didn’t allocate any points whatsoever. Of course-
You’re bound to play, it’s a competitive licensing structure.
Yeah, and the reality is is that with our conservative legislator right now, there’s a very little likelihood that it could pass through the legislator. It really is more likely through a constitutional amendment. But you know what, in this industry, you never know. So you know, I’m hopeful. I’m obviously keeping track of the movement on this bill. They’re in session now and so they’re meeting and they’re talking about it.
It probably will not end up in the form that it’s in currently. It will probably go through several different revisions to the extent that it does make it out and does get approved. But it’s huge opportunity. And what’s really interesting about it is it also, a big thing in Florida is the vertical integration. They’re not allowed to contract out anything. So from growing, to processing, dispensing, they can’t really contract out any of those services.
The Senate bill 1860 explicitly allows them to contract out some of those. So what that means is that there’s going to be service providers that can now come in and contract with these licensed companies. So a lot of people need to understand that to the extent they want to do transportation, there’s going to be opportunities for companies to pop up that are specializing in the transportation of cannabis and that currently is not available here in Florida right now.
You mentioned you’re a conservative politician, and when I think Florida, I think old people and the conservatism and all the money down there. I used to live in Jersey, so I’m familiar with that mentality of the population and whatnot. Do you think as a resident whatnot and being someone who watches your politics, is there a lot of pushback from Big Pharma? I mean, how come more people aren’t reaching out to your older voting population, because that conservative person, I mean, we make marijuana to be taboo. It’s not, it’s like ointment. It’s better than alcohol. It’s like eventually when we get to the legalization that we all want, it’ll be, you can buy it like broccoli, right? Like a pound for 50 cents, because mass people are growing.
Let’s at least draw the line at vodka, like [inaudible 00:21:09] cards. It’s going to be an industry that’s expensive again too. But you can get into it.
Well look, if you look on a federal level, you’ll see that both parties are starting to come together on this issue. And I think you’re starting to see that in Florida, and you’re seeing that throughout a lot of different States. So I think historically, obviously it’s been the conservatives that have been … And look, I don’t have anything against conservatives. I actually, I am a conservative myself, I vote on the issues. But on this particular issue, they’re very weary, but a lot of them have switched over. I have talked to a lot of conservative legislators that have switched over, and they’re believers. They’ve talked to some of the older demographic we have in Florida. They’ve understood the medicinal benefits. Some of the doctors that I work with have really made their voices heard up in Tallahassee at our state Capitol, so-
Do you think the message of … I’m sorry, which one do you think resonates more with the people of Florida regarding the marijuana laws? The message about how it is good, effective medicine, or the message that it’s good business. Because when I think Florida, I think conservative, but I think, “Yeah, but they’re business conservative. They care about what they’re doing. They care about their numbers.”
Well that’s why whatever message you’re trying to convey, look, in law school you’re always taught you got to know who your audience is. And that’s one thing I’m very … I always know who my audience is. You got to know if you’re talking to a simpleton versa an educated person, someone who understands finance, someone who doesn’t understand finance. You’ve got to understand who you’re talking to. And yes, the things that resonate with the conservative people are that this is a money making thing. There’s a lot of opportunity here. A lot of tax dollars we could be getting, of course we don’t want to make the mistakes that California made and some of these other States by taxing it too hard.
But there’s a lot of business opportunities I think that resonates with the conservative groups quite a bit. But it’s also always important to talk about some of the disabilities. And another challenge up here is a lot of the municipalities that actually ban dispensary’s which is allowed in our state statute. So I’ve done a lot of work at a local level as well, educating some of the local officials about why they should not be banning. And obviously a lot of that is based on stigma. It’s just educating the public and trying to-
Marijuana and the NIMBY effect, the not in my backyard effect.
But let’s educate the public right now and me being the public, because I’m from Illinois where we aren’t allowed to do ballot initiatives to amend our constitution. How do you take that small, tiny little amendment that they put in there and create a whole legislative train fabric including administrative rules so that you can license and regulate the cannabis industry? Or the marijuana industry in Florida?
Well it all starts with the petition, so you’ve got to draft the petition, and like I said, the Regulate Florida petition was quite lengthy. And actually once you go through that, I think you need over 90,000 signatures. The Supreme Court then does a financial review and they review the language, and the language of the constitutional amendment needs to be obviously super clear and it really needs to be one topic covered. You’re not supposed to cover multiple topics. So you know, once you get past that Supreme Court review, you get the signatures gets on the ballot, you need to get like 766,000 signatures or something like that.
Then it gets on the ballot, you got to vote for it. Then the legislators got to go in and they’ve got to [inaudible 00:24:45] the statute that’s consistent with that constitution. And that’s really what the Florida Supreme Court case is about where that legislator came in. And obviously the Florida Constitution is Supreme over the Florida Statute. And when there’s a conflict between the Florida Statute and Florida Constitution, there’s an issue and that statute would be deemed unconstitutional. And that’s the situation we’re in right now.
It does, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the East coast. Is spring break still a thing over there man? Like is Daytona and all that shit still a thing?
Absolutely. I live in Fort Lauderdale beach so yeah, come March time, it’s crazy down here. I’m trying to stay away from the beach around that time.
So see, the argument that should be made here in this moment, right? Because I remember, and I mean wild shit happens.
Wild shit. And it’s fueled by Jimmy Buffett’s owns Sunterra or Surterra, is that one of the companies that … So Buffett has some action in the Florida cannabis market.
Yes, Surterra’s involved, and I’ll tell you, with the beach, one of the Deerfield, I spoke at the Deerfield hearing when they were looking to ban marijuana dispensaries and what really caught their attention is when MedMen purchased the location on the beach. And MedMen, they’re recreational, their focus, when you look at them from a marketing-
Yeah, they’re the recreational real estate cannabis play, and so they were thinking, “Oh, five years from now we’ll all have spliffs, we’ll be listening to reggae, it’ll be beautiful.
On the beach, chilling in Deerfield Beach. And that scared the crap out of the Deerfield people. And they actually ended up doing a ban after the fact. So MedMen then got their location, but they actually banned it. And I actually think that that decision was actually contrary to what they’re permitted to do under the Florida Statute. The Florida Statute does not allow them to put … If they allow marijuana dispensaries, they cannot put a cap. And what I believe happened if you read the minutes of that hearing in the Deerfield session, and this happens all throughout the different municipalities, really their basis for wanting to ban the dispensaries was that they thought they already had enough of them.
So if the statute doesn’t let you put a cap on the front end on the amount of dispensaries, why are you allowed to allow some dispensaries and then say, “All right, we have enough, now we’re going to ban it.” It’s essentially it’s substance over form. Substantively they’re doing the same thing. So if an MMTC wanted to fight that ban, I think that they’d have a pretty good case.
It just seems insane to me in Florida of all places that these asinine politicians are preventing marijuana on a beach. Every bad instance I remember growing up that happened in Florida or Atlanta or all the bad shit, at least festivals on spring break occasions was alcohol fueled. Did you have to have more bad shit happen in your fucking town with alcohol before you say, “Okay, let’s give the fucking weed a chance.”
When Phish did Big Cypress to ring in the new year, and I don’t mean like, “Oh my god, there’s a Phish concert that lasts seven hours on the beach, way to go potheads in Florida.” No, I mean, but that stigma is real man. And that stigma is pervasive. And then if that’s where people go to retire, it also correlates to age. So I mean that could be-
But I mean, you see it happened.
And then so with his Silver Tuna Tour, he’s actually out there trying to go to the villages and break that stigma, but-
But you see the actual-
And even that stigma carries over. I’m starting not to get too off topic, but I’m starting to get very involved in the psilocybin mushroom movement and I actually launched my not-for-profit just last week. We’re going to be coming up with our website in February, but our not-for-profit is focused on using medical and spiritual research to drive responsible legal reform of psilocybin mushrooms in Florida. And we’ve already made significant room at it. But the challenge once again is the stigma.
It’s the same thing in cannabis, you’ve got to overcome the stigma and you said it yourself, alcohol, you have people that drink too much and die from alcohol-[inaudible 00:28:52] thousand this year.
… no one’s dying from smoking cannabis and no one’s dying from taking psilocybin mushrooms. Now they may make some bad decisions and I think that’s why I’m saying we need to have responsible legal reform. More people are taking it under a certain setting perhaps. So people have walked in front of cars and lots of-
Psilocybin Mushrooms & Legalization of Marijuana
Right, but because it’s a hallucinate gin, but it appears to have medical properties. However, and I’m not boned up on it, and before we turn our attentions back to Florida marijuana laws, really briefly, what is psilocybin scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act?
Psilocybin has had a long history in our culture. And what’s interesting is that it goes back, you look at the tribes, all the big tribes they’re still doing it and some of them are actually allowed to take stuff like Ayahuasca Burner for spiritual reasons and stuff like that. But the research has been done. And really how I got into it, which I think is really interesting is it’s almost, not all my clients, but a large amount of my cannabis clients were very interested in getting psilocybin and they were interested in putting up capital, raising capital and start doing some stuff, whether it be in Jamaica. Denver just decriminalized it. Oakland decriminalized, actually Chicago decriminalized as well. Vermont has a bill. Oregon’s got a constitutional petition.
And so I was getting those inquiries. And then quite honestly I wasn’t that interested, because I thought it was kind of a joke. I myself hadn’t taken psychedelics. So I actually talked to some of my doctors that I represent and I talked about seven to 10 doctors, and hands down, every single one of them were huge believers in the medicinal value. So then I started doing my own research and started talking to some of the growers and the therapist out in Jamaica. Talking to site psychiatrists down here that are using ketamine, some of my pain management doctors that are using ketamine. And I believe more so in the medicinal value now of psilocybin mushrooms than I do of cannabis. The evidence that they have is enormous. And even the FDA is starting to get behind it. So it’s actually from an FDA perspective more accepted than cannabis is.
But you’re talking about like micro dosing, even like with shrooms. I know a guy here, he’ll put them in capsules and I mean, I remember as a child, being a college man, you could take a couple, I did it for fun. Like this is going to be a good night, because I took a lot. And it is beneficial medicinally. I mean, you’re talking naturopathic things. Everything can help us, right? Even tumeric and all this other shit, it’s all-
Well, one thing that I think is really important. Whenever I discuss anyone’s trip on psilocybin mushrooms, they all speak almost poetically like you know, they shared a piece of their skin or they all have this oneness with [inaudible 00:31:49]. If you think about the three main things they’re looking to cure with psilocybin mushrooms is depression, PTSD and addiction. And if you really think about what all three of those things are, there’s something’s happening in the mind, there’s some blockage. Something is just not there. And what psilocybin mushrooms do, is it allows you to just shed that and open your mind up and gain broader perspective and really reset your mind. And that’s what they’re doing out in Jamaica. There’s a lot of therapy centers out there that you go and you do seven days retreats and so on and so forth [crosstalk 00:32:23]-
I know what I’m doing after our application season ends here in March-
But you know, it’s acceptable to take a pill that fucking makes you loopy like Xanax and whatnot opposed to a pill, sort of this scrine of mushrooms-
Or one that’s called an SSRI, that one’s fine, but that I think the legalization of cannabis in Florida, Illinois, Seattle. And then it looks like the deregulation or the change in regulation of psilocybin are somewhat related in the sense that the methods we used in the 20th Century to regulate these drugs was just stupid and wrong. And it hurt us as a society because it created a more anxiety prone, a more addictive prone life. And they would actually promote that. I mean, you remember back in the 50s when they’d have the Flintstones smoking cigarettes on television, literally marketing them to children. And now it’s you have to fight a stigma that was created by that century to advance and be like, “No, look at this medical research. Why aren’t we doing this?”
And what’s really fascinating, I’ve been talking to attorneys throughout the country that are leading this movement. Guys like Noah Potter who, he’s at the Psychedelic Law Blog since the 90s, I mean this guy brings tremendous amount of information regarding psychedelics and the legal frameworks and stuff like that. But what’s fascinating is trying to figure out what a responsible, and I really I use the word responsible, a responsible legal framework would be. It would not be the same as cannabis, and there’s a school of thought with a lot of the activists that they don’t believe it should be medical framework. Because when you’re dealing with the medical framework, and I’ve talked with Noah Potter about this at length and he has a great blog regarding this topic.
But when you talk about medical, it’s either you have a qualifying condition, so you’re allowed to do it medically. Or if you don’t have a qualifying condition, you’re a criminal and as criminal you’re not allowed to do it. And the way Noah feels and a lot of the other attorneys I’ve talked to is that there’s so much value beyond medical for psilocybin mushrooms, for example spiritual. And that’s why my not-for-profit is using medical as well as spiritual research to drive responsible legal reform.
That always pissed me off about the cannabis movement is that they would always put the kibosh on the First Amendment Rights. If somebody says, “No, I believe in cannabis for spiritual reasons and it’s my right to practice my religion how I want to practice.” They’d still say, “Nah.”
And in both cannabis and the mushrooms, it’s a wellness issue. Because I mean, people do abuse it but at the same token people can take a lot of it and their life is better for it. We’ve criminalized, America is suffering from what I’d like to think is like the Preacher’s Daughter Syndrome, right? You’ve got her all suppressed and you kept her in the little closet all your life and now, “Oh shit, we’re all fucked up because I forgot to teach you how to do things right.” Coffee is a drug, the caffeine in our daily lives-
Isn’t that how it would usually, and again, the reason why I never got into mushrooms, because I did a once and they gave me the shits and the pukes at the same time. Terrible way to start. But you know, … happens. And so, and then also, it still got me kind of tripping balls, not quite to that level, but it was a time investment as well. From what I’ve looked into it, don’t they have like shaman that are supposed to be guide for the particular …
And I’ll tell you, there’s guys out here in Miami doing it. I’ve talked to them that they’re essentially shamans down here that lead people through these spiritual journeys. There’s also groups down here that set up retreats out in Jamaica where it’s fully legal. So, it’s very, what they talk a lot about is your set and your setting. You need to be sure when they say set, you have the right intention going into it, and you have to have the right setting.
Because your emotions get pulled in one direction or the other. So if you’re in a horrible setting around people you don’t trust and you don’t like, you’re going to have a horrible trip. And vice versa. If you’re in a beautiful setting where it’s you’re among people that you care about and that care about you and who are looking out for you. And that’s what a shaman’s job is, is really to lead you through the journey.
And I hate this. It’s funny that I feel like, two years ago I would have never been talking like this. I’m certainly no hippie or anything like that. But you know-
The realization of Marijuana’s stigma
No, these are just facts. Honestly the hippies are [inaudible 00:36:48] the whole time.
But that’s not true, because right now you’re experiencing the stigma that we’re fighting against in real time. Because I wouldn’t have thought this two years ago and people are expressing that like, “Look, the stigma was imposed upon me and now I’ve gone through that. And then I realized it was just bullshit.” But [crosstalk 00:37:05] of works that stigma works man.
With drugs, will you call spirituality, whether it be with cannabis or mushrooms. It’s also psychology, right? Spirituality, psychology. It’s our mind wellness. We talk about mental health, and that’s what spirituality is too. It’s like when you have proper mental health and a perspective where you’re like, “You know what, whether you’re taking it for PTSD or physical, actual pain, you could still operate as a human being. And people live without that awareness. They live without that feeling goodness. Because they’re afraid to take it because it’s illegal.
And that’s why I think, it’s all about being responsible. I think we need to be responsible as a society. We need to be responsible with our laws and we need to be responsible with ourselves. And you know, if you take drugs irresponsibly or you have irresponsible regulations and you just decriminalize with no regulations, I’m not for that either.
So it’s very important that we have these conversations. We do the research that we need to be doing, and we have constructive discussions that we could … I’ll be honest, I don’t know personally what the legal framework should be. And that’s why my not-for-profit, I’m not going straight to decriminalization right now. What I’m trying to do is raise awareness, not only for society, for myself. Because I want to figure out the right legal framework and there’s other places like, look Kevin out in Denver, I talked with him. He did a great job in leading decriminalized Denver, talked to the guys out in Oakland. I’ve talked to people really throughout the country and they’ve done a tremendous job.
But right now me personally, I don’t feel good about putting out certain legislation until I really raised my own awareness and that that’s what I’m trying to do is raise awareness among the Floridians among the country, among the world and myself and so that we could come to the right solution here with respect to regulations for it.
Well, it’s kind of hard. We promote like a plant or a thing and then it’s kind of like saying, “Hey kids, go ahead and smoke some weed, but I don’t want to be responsible for anybody else’s fucking kids as far as like, I didn’t tell them to smoke the weed. I know it’s harmless, I really don’t give a fuck. It’s like they … But-
I’m a proponent of really having an age minimum. I think if I were to have taken these drugs as a youngster, I think I, your brain I don’t think is developed enough. But as a grown human being, if you’re taking these drugs with a certain intention, whether it’s MDMA, there’s a lot of proof MDMA helps with PTSD, psilocybin mushrooms, these all are categories within the psychedelics. And if you’re an adult and you take them with the right intention and with the right understanding, I truly believe they could be medicinal. But if these drugs are abused, they could also be extremely detrimental. So it’s important that we just have the conversation.
That’s how it is like with the cannabis laws in Florida or in whatever state, you’re asking people to take a reasoned, firsthand knowledge, honest perspective on a complex issue that they feel a certain way on. It’s so much easier for somebody just to say, “No, I don’t support it. I don’t want anything.” Because then they don’t have to create something that’s going to make them feel like they have to question anything, or they have to change something that has never existed before.
So you get these brand new cannabis laws in Florida where you have to have the $50 million or in Illinois where it’s 4,000 applications for 75 licenses. So you know that people are going to sue the state of Illinois and try to settle for a license. And at least that growing pain that is there is us working through this process of making sure that we have a legislative change. But I mean, it’s just so despicable that it’s just easy. The easiest thing is just to say, “No way, arrest them all.”
And that’s really, that’s kind of like what the municipalities are doing here in Florida. They have the right under our statute to ban dispensaries. So a lot of them are saying, “We don’t want to come up with what the legal framework should be in our ordinance. It’s much easier for us to have a one liner that says, ‘They are banned pursuant to Florida Statute 381.986.'” Boom, we’re done. We don’t need to worry about it. Let the other municipalities figure it out. They’ll be the laboratories for experimentation. Once they do what they do, then we’ll consider, revising. Which really that’s what’s happening now is that those other municipalities just like federalism allows states to be laboratories of experimentation-
So that’s great. We can now talk about the States Act. I think it violates the 14th Amendment. What do you think about the States Act?
Well I mean, the States Act it has a lot of good language in it, it has a lot of bad language in it. I like that the discussion is at least moving forward on some sort of the federal government at least respecting state law to some extent. And really what people don’t understand about the State’s Act is, it’s just really codifying federalism essentially and allowing the States to be laboratories of experimentation. I’m curious to hear what your analysis is as far as why it-
Because then it takes the federal law and it kind of plugs in the state laws. So now you are treating federal people under a different state rubric and so like if I’m in Indiana, I’m a criminal, but if I’m an Illinois for the same conduct, I’m a free man. And so it sets up this slave state, free state kind of problem. Well it’s not slave state, it’s criminal states, but if you can criminalize somebody, you can make them a slave according to the 13th Amendment. So it creates a non-uniform federal law that treats people differently based upon the state that they’re in for the same action.[inaudible 00:42:48] right, because I’m not the lawyer guy, I’m just a technician here. So it’s like the state tax is the one that says, “Okay, we’re each individually going to do our own thing,” like cannabis legalization, right. And some habits don’t have it and it’s still fairly legally illegal overall. As far as that issue, so how many other issues like that exist in America though?
We can all agree that kid fucking’s bad, but we can’t agree that this benign plant should be … That’s a problem. State acts I think is a great thing, because if there’s other questions so deep to our society that they’ll be offensive. There are some questions we’ve got to ask, but this question has already been answered. We need to fucking grow up, legalize things in a certain level, educate each other, like we all know drinking too much is bad, and it will happen [crosstalk 00:43:38]. But you’re going to-
I think what’s important to understand is that when you think about big companies, it’s very hard for them to make decisions. They take a long time. They have a board of directors, they have shareholders who to answer to, when you’re talking about small companies, they can make quick decisions. It’s very similar with states versus the federal government. Federal government is a huge ship trying to make a turn and they just can’t make a full turn as quick as a state can make a turn.
And so they’re trying to take these baby steps and wiggle around the issue and get something pushed forward and slowly but surely I’m quite confident that there will be an abandonment of this federal prohibition of cannabis. It’s just the ship is large and it’s very, very hard to move.
Yeah. But how many other moral questions are there out there like this? None that I can think of.
That’s why I do cannabis law, because it’s so unique and it’s so different. This is why guys like me and Thomas I think are … It’s important when I tell people if you’re sort of trying to start a cannabis company and you’re not dealing with an attorney that really knows what they’re doing with cannabis, you’re going to run into all sorts of binds, because it is not like any other industry. People can compare it to liquor in some of these recreational states, it ain’t liquor. It’s way deeper.
Are you guys aware of the other cop cannabis lawyer that’s been in the conversation quite lately in news?
Oh yeah. The guy who’s representing-
Parnof. I can’t now, this guy, I mean, and Keith Stroup just sent out an email to all the normal legal counsel about him, but I think he is more of a criminal defense attorney in a sense that he likes cannabis and his criminal clients vociferously, but I don’t think they call it vociferously in a law school. I think they call it zealously, but still yes, I can’t remember his name, but he’s a criminal lawyer who’s-
Roddy. I just think the fact that he [inaudible 00:45:38] upon himself to fight for the morality of marijuana in courts, but yet at the same time he got picked to help defend this guy who’s being thrown on there, like national news. Well yeah, it’s money, but-
Check and then like that’s the thing. If he pays that money that he got, ill-gottenly from Ukraine and he pays it to Sly or whatever his name is, and then he takes that to his bank and deposits it. They don’t kick him out because he’s a tier 2 MRB. Now, if I try to do that for my law firm, because my client pays me 50 grand, well pays me $100,000 to go sue the state of Illinois so I can settle for a license. My bank might shut me down, because they’ll be like, “No, that’s different you see, if you’re defending somebody for a crime, it’s fine. But if you’re defending somebody to break a crime, you’re a tier 2 MRB.”
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think that’s a distinction I think us as lawyers in the cannabis space really tiptoe on because technically if we’re … If you’re defending a criminal, you’re allowed to defend a criminal. But to the extent that marijuana is federally illegal, when if you’re trying to facilitate a cannabis transaction and you’re doing an M&A deal, you’re doing a real estate deal, whatever it might be to-
That’s like discover really different federal crimes right there.
To understand, your guys’ necessity, your guys’ importance. Tom’s and yours Dustin’s as far as the business side of things is, it’s like the how in America we can conclude business and, it’s our civility. It’s how we, your contracts and whatnot. It’s not like-
Well, America at its core is a contract. [inaudible 00:47:20] constitution is, so like America really gave birth to this corporate idea. I realized that you can trace corporations further back to the Dutch East India Company. But that was for the Dutch, like you know, from the concept of a country that is a corporation that allows for other corporations and other contracts to be enforced. Still America is unlike any other country that existed before it.
Yeah. And just to circle back on what we were talking about with the state’s [inaudible 00:47:49], now some states it will be criminal and other states it won’t be criminal. It creates all sorts of confusion. What we’ve never seen in an industry is a situation where these MSOs, Multi-state Operators that are operating. They have to have different labels and different SOPs for every single state that they’re in to comply. It’s extremely inefficient. That’s why I’m very involved in ASTM D37 which is the globalization standards for the cannabis industry. And until we have global standards on how we should test our products, how they should be labeled, how they should be packaged, how they should be disposed of.
Until we have standardized ways of doing things, the industry is going to continue to be extremely inefficient, and the cost of doing business for these cannabis companies is going to be extremely high. And that’s why I think some of these stock prices you’re seeing plummet I mean for many reasons. But one of them is just, no one could have foreseen the extreme cost there is on simple compliance from state to state. You can’t have just, “Hey these are our labels and this is how we’re going to sell in every single state.” No, each state when you’re an MSO, you need to have every state has its own labels and guess what? You better stay on top of any legal changes with respect to those labels because the law changes very quickly in each and every state. So don’t go buy 100,000 labels because you could save yourself a couple pennies on it because it might change the very next day. So there’s just tons of challenges.
Yep no. Because every single state is its own thing. And then you have to have a supply chain and the supply chain is on a state by state basis itself. Because all the product must be grown in a particularized state. So you can’t really get any economies to scale from being an interstate operator like you can for these MSOs. But then what you can get is a higher cost of doing business, because also as soon as somebody finds out you’re in the cannabis game, you have to deal all the cash and they jack your prices because they think you’re making money hand over fist.
And we were talking backstage about some numbers for growers and what type of cashflow they can throw off. Yeah, it’s a cashflow business, but it’s a capital and cash intensive business. So just because it can cashflow a lot, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cost a lot to do it if you even get the right to do it. And all these things are creating problems.
But one of the things we should partner on over the course of the next decade is the marijuana uniform commercial code, or the cannabis commercial code, or something like that where you take and you standardize these. Because it’s going to be like any other legislation, like the ERA just got to that 38th state. It was passed in the 70s, right. But then we had that, I think it was the 25th Amendment that was passed in 1789. But it took until a few years ago before it’s actually codified. I don’t know, I’m not the constitutional scholar, I’ve never been a constitutional scholar.
Law school I was way better at constitutional law than I am now.
Yeah. Because you actually, it was relevant to your life then. But it’s fine. And that’s why I love it, because it’s a historic issue and it’s an issue that is unlike anything else and it has so many different applications. So it’s not just agricultural, compliance, corporate, it touches on all those things and it’s fascinating.
And one of the things I wanted to just circle back on is we talked about how in Florida originally it was low THC and then we didn’t know … We didn’t have smokable flower and that was changed in the last legislative session. Now we have smokable flower, and I’ll tell you the current licensees can’t produce it fast enough-
… anyone could have predicted the demand for flower. And everyone got excited about apes and all this other stuff, flower-
Miggy, you predicted that?
Dude, so as you were talking about the numbers earlier, this is all predictable. The market for cannabis is huge. The fact that you guys started with four producers, [inaudible 00:51:48] your culture, the whatever, your consumer experience. But now you’ve got more people, more variety, more experience. It’s going to turn into its own thing, its own … There’s somebody who can be doing events. There’s somebody that’s going to be … Like everything ancillary happens like you’re talking about with the transporters and whatnot.
That’s really the best idea right there is that cracking that open so you can get all those ancillary businesses out there. But you said something that I thought it was interesting, because I’m not a Florida lawyer. I don’t intend to ever take a Florida bar exam. We’ll see what happens in the future. But so you guys make an amendment to the constitution and then the legislature starts to make changes to that? Because you said that the amendment said, “Low THC, no smokable flower.” And so now they’ve removed the low THC and the smokable flower aspect.
So the low THC actually was through a statute prior to the constitutional amendment. Then the constitutional amendment came in and actually allowed for high THC product. The constitution was silent with respect to smokable but through with … But there were lawsuits filed and through the lawsuits, basically essentially the governor, when the governor came on board, he basically put out a policy that he was a proponent of smokable marijuana. And so they revised the statute to make it allowed.
There was a big debate over putting a THC cap. And from what I understand in this next legislative session, there’s another push to try to put a THC cap on our medical marijuana program. Obviously, that’s what’s interesting about the industry. We’re always trying to make progress, but we also got to keep fighting just to hold our position. So right now they’re allowed to have high THC medical marijuana in Florida. But that [crosstalk 00:53:38]-
Do you guys have like the vape pens? Because this is a … It’s a nature’s grace in wellness, but it was probably about 80% cannabinoids when it was-
Yeah, we have vape pens. What we don’t have, so it’s interesting is the statute allows for edibles, but the Department of Ag and our Department of Health are supposed to work together on edible rules and edible rules have not come out. So currently in Florida we do not have edibles, which I think is … I think a lot of people prefer edibles and it’s unfortunate that our patients don’t have access to edibles. Another thing that’s interesting in Florida that we’re still waiting on is they have not approved any third party testing labs in Florida.
Yeah, I represent Green Scientific Labs, which is one of the premier testing labs here in Florida. And they, the department of health hasn’t gotten around to putting out the third party testing rules. Now they just put out an emergency rule that has not been adopted that would then put … So right now these third party testing labs, the Department of Health is allowing them to handle marijuana just contractually. There’s no license that the third party testing labs have, they just have to be contracted with an MMTC, a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center in order to be able to do that testing, which is creating all sorts of issues. And quite honestly, right now in Florida the testing is somewhat self-regulated, which means look, these are businesses and if they don’t have to test something, if they could call their-[crosstalk 00:55:05] self-regulated, you got to deal with the FAA. But that’s coming up in Illinois too where they don’t have … I mean, they mentioned stuff about testing. There are testing labs but they haven’t opened up for new testing labs and that’s more of that ancillary business. They’re trying to limit concentrates in Washington State, aren’t they?
Yeah. Yeah. Well, some legislators are trying to push some bullshit 10% bill. So we hope that, I mean it just, like you said, you get so far and then you have to fight for what you already have.
Especially [inaudible 00:55:37] way, it doesn’t stop. It comes back and it’s like, “Oh, oh, you’re using it in a concentrated form?” “Yes.”
Well the questions I can only ask is, “Why? Why is it all of a sudden important that we have these limits?”
Show me [crosstalk 00:55:50] where this plant touched you? I mean, seriously, what did it do to you?
Yeah. Well, there was … And over the past few months they’ve brought a lot of people, a lot of doctors in, a lot of out-of-state players that were against cannabis and in Tallahassee there was a lot of speakers that were going out there. And they were having information sessions and hearings where these doctors were basically talking about the dangers of higher THC limits. And I’ll tell you, it created a lot of anger with a lot of the doctors that I work with. And you know, now they’re starting to put on own informational sessions, explaining why it’s important to actually have access to the higher THC.
And quite honestly right now, what would be … If they were to do something where they maxed out the THC amount. What’s interesting is all the strains and all the bio-varieties that they’re growing right now or for the most part are for high THC, right? So if that law were to go in, essentially the Florida companies would have to redo and all the strains and all the varieties and everything they’re doing, which would cause a whole issue with patient access and all sorts of different issues. I’m hopeful that-
Looks like they’re trying to limit the THC levels.
What’s the maximum ceiling they’re trying to limit it to?
10% is what they discussed.
No, that’s like, if we had Ethan Russo, Dr. Russo on air, he’d be like, “No, that’s a cannabis level two Chemovar.” In the sense that that’s those balanced ones, because you have the 20 to one ratio, which is usually your CBD hemp, like your lifter strains. And then you have the opposite ratio that sometimes it’s just all THC and that would be like your Gorilla Glue. And then so if you did it like a gorilla lifter, then that should be more of a balanced one-to-one THC CBD ratio. And even those can go over 10%, so you’d still have to be watching your flower. And so then you get, it’d be like saying you’d now have to pick all apples when they’re unripe.
I guess what, we will just smoke more. If you spoke more of 10% THC marijuana, you’re going to be consuming more marijuana and probably get even more high. You just got to spend more money. So it’s going to hurt the consumer, the patient who has to buy additional marijuana just to reach-
There’s no patient home grow in Florida yet, right?
Correct. So home grow is a big issue. Obviously the 22 licensees are I think are probably going to lobby against it. And the 22 licensees are-
For patients or for adults?
I don’t think the 22 licensees will want home grow to happen at all.
Yeah, look, I don’t know. But at the end of the day, these 22 licensees, like I said, in Florida it’s an enormous market. These 22 licensees have a lot of money behind them and a lot of the lobbyists that are in Tallahassee right now are lobbying on their behalf. So that’s one of the big hurdles that you would have to get over is the fact that you’re going to have these 22 licensees spending a lot of lobbying dollars on keeping home grow out of [inaudible 00:58:40]. Now look, I don’t know, there might be … I haven’t talked to, I don’t want to speak on behalf of all the licensees. Maybe some of them are in support of it. But from a broader perspective, most likely they’ll take some sort of position against home grown.
You know, you guys are losing out on so much money for pointing out that recreational will also go towards tourism dollars. Because right now your medical guaranteed 100%. I mean, there might not be what they call diversion, leave the state, whatnot. But I guarantee you a lot of that medical purchases are going to local residents, non-medical patients. So as soon as they have that medical purchase for recreation, or the recreational purchase, you’re going to be pulling in that guy who’s been pulling what he calls black market, but it’s buddy who is medical. You ain’t getting that market plus the tourism. Like you guys have retarded tourism, that’s what you live off of.
Oh, that’s crazy. I mean, that’s why these people are spending so much money on a license down here, right? I mean, look, they’re not doing it for the 300,000 patients. They’re doing it for the 20 million person population we have, plus all the tourism we have. So these guys aren’t … We don’t have people signing checks for $50 million for a piece of paper just because they think they could get access to 300,000 patients. They’re doing it because they see that when recreational happens here in Florida, it’s going to be tremendous opportunity. And quite honestly, it’s going to be gangbusters.
There’s going to be a lot, a lot of money to be made. There’s going to be a lot of competition. You know what I mean? Look, at the end of the day, it’s like a business. You’ve got to be able to guys, I tell a lot of people, they want to get into this industry, they think it’s easy money. No, it’s like any other business. You got to be smart. You got to work with the people that know what they’re doing, work with the right attorneys, the right accountants, the right finance people, right investors, and you’ve got to compete. Just like any other business. There’s no easy way to make a buck-
That’s great, that can bring us back to something we can kind of wrap up on here. So Dustin, for Florida marijuana in 2020, what do you kind of see happening?
Well, Florida marijuana in 2020? So right now we have this Supreme Court case happening. We also have that bill I talked about that’s in the legislator. I don’t see that bill passing. I’m hopeful, if it does then that would be great, we’ll have recreational here. I don’t see that bill passing. I don’t see the legislator doing anything until the Florida Supreme court makes a ruling on that case. The case, it’s the Florida Grown case. That’s the company that brought suit and I’m hoping the Supreme Court will make ruling on that in the next few months, assuming that they affirmed the lower courts. The legislator will probably have to go back for a special session. They’ll have to revise the statute. We all know how the legislative process could take a long time.
Then the DOH will have to release new rules and then the DOH will have to release applications. And then they’ll start accepting applications. So, I’m very, very hopeful that we might have some licenses issued in 2020. I’m very, very doubtful that we’ll have licenses issued in 2020. More than likely there won’t be any additional licenses issued until at least 2021 unfortunately.
But I’m hopeful, and that’s why I’m getting super active in other states. That’s why I worked with you on some of the Illinois applications. I’m planning to work with you on some of these additional applications we got. I got a group in West Virginia. I got a work group in Georgia I’m working with. Really working with various different groups all over to help them get access. And a lot of them are Florida based companies that are looking to expand into other states as well, so.
But there’s a lot of stuff to be done. I’m hopeful that, like I said, the third party testing lab rules, I’m hopeful will come out. I’m hopeful that there’ll be licensing some of these third party testing labs so that the … And once again, circle back, it’s all about the patient. I want the patient to get the best product that they could be getting. And if this product is not be a bit self-regulated with respect to the testing, there’s a lot of risks that some of this product being put on the Florida market is not fully tested and-
It’s going to just take one recall or somebody gets real stick. [crosstalk 01:02:36] So where can people find you man?
They could find me, my law firm is www.mrcannabislaw.com, that’s M-Rcannabis law.com. You can also follow me on all social media at #mrcannabislaw.
Awesome. Well, I really thank you for coming on the show [crosstalk 01:02:55]. And as Florida develops new things, please come back and share it on …
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Call Us 309-740-4033 || e-Mail Us [email protected]
Suite 2400 Chicago IL, 60606, USA
Call Us 312-741-1009 || e-Mail Us [email protected]
IL 61602, USA
Call Us (309) 740-4033 || e-Mail Us [email protected]