Five months before Voting Day apparently isn't too early for cannabis entrepreneurs to begin staking out territory in fertile Florida, where in some polls support for legalization of medical marijuana tops 85 percent.
A just-announced, Florida Cannabis Coalition (FCC) event to bring together the "cannabis stars" from across the country is CannaBiz Day Orlando, an all-day June 6 affair at the Royal Caribe Hotel, Orlando.
The packed agenda begins at 8 a.m. Admission is free to FCC members, $349 to others.
Keynote speaker is Steve DeAngelo, whom FCC founder and CEO Thomas Quigley calls "nothing short of a rock star in the cannabis industry and we are delighted to have him share his wisdom and enthusiasm with aspiring entrepreneurs here in Central Florida.
DeAngelo founded Harborside Health Center, a nonprofit medical dispensary in Oakland, Calif., lauded by the New York Times "as a model of how others could operate."
Said DeAngelo, I launched Harborside Health Center to bring a new model of professionalism and integrity to the cannabis industry. As the third most populous state in America approaches legalization, I am pleased to join Florida Cannabis Coalition in empowering the country to change its image and perception of cannabis at this important moment in history.
According to the promoters, CannaBiz Day Orlando will blend education, motivation and consultation "to help Florida businesses and individuals prepare for the coming legal cannabis industry."
Besides DeAngelo, the press statement reads, attendees can meet successful business owners, executives, legal, real estate and finance professionals with real-world cannabis business experience, as well as activists and policymakers instrumental in changing cannabis laws in Florida.
Quigley isn't just giving entrepreneurs a hand, he's promoting a "yes" vote for the November ballot amendment that would provide broad sanction to medical marijuana with a doctor's prescription.
If Florida businesses and communities are to benefit from medical cannabis, we need to first ensure the right legislation is put in place, which means avoiding distractions and making sure people come out and vote yes on Amendment 2 this fall," Quigley said. "The next step is getting the best people and best practices in place for a successful roll-out of this opportunity-rich industry. Florida is truly at the intersection of activism and entrepreneurship and we are thrilled to welcome the man (DeAngelo) who put that intersection on the map.
Apart from the amendment, the Legislature just passed SB 1030, originally meant to bring relief to 125,000 children in Florida who suffer seizures from intractable epilepsy. The limited strain of unsmokable marijuana does not produce a "high."
Changes in the bill added by House sponsor Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, and co-sponsor Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, include an expansion of medical conditions to which low-THC, unsmokable marijuana can apply -- cancer and chronic neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy and Lou Gehrig's Disease.
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