JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's been a highly debated topic in Florida since before it was even set to be on the ballot for November's election: medical marijuana.
Saturday, before the drug has even been legalized, a group will be offering a seminar here in town on how to run a business with medical marijuana should it become legal in Florida.
The Cannabis Career Institute has been doing these classes all over the country for a few years now. They do them before marijuana is legalized in states, so that when it is, those that choose to be one of the licensed growers are following all the laws while they do it.
"You have to get ahead of the curve and find locations, create a business plan and make yourself more attractive to the state, which is going to give you a state approved dispensary, grow op, edibles operation," said Robert Calkin, president/CEO of the Cannabis Career Institute.
"You want to get ahead of the game so you make yourself more attractive to the people who choose who is going to have the businesses here."
Calkin says that the one of the main things he wants people interested in a medical marijuana business need to do is select a proper location. He says that you want your business to be somewhere that isn't a nuisance to the community living near it.
"People will find you. You don't have to put big green crosses out on your business or say marijuana dispensary. You can just market your business in a way that's discreet and not going to bother people who don't want the marijuana businesses."
He teaches the laws that sellers and buyers will need to know should medical marijuana become legal, like how much they can charge, what types of taxes they are subject to, and how to make sure they don't lose their state license.
Calkin also says his classes have had strong support from law enforcement in many places they've held them.
"They come to the classes to make sure we're not all doing something illegal and they leave realizing that, 'hey, they are trying to follow the law. Hey, they are trying to work with us. They are doing things to make sure we don't have conflict.'
The class is Saturday morning at the Hyatt Place hotel off of Duval Road near the airport and starts at 9 a.m. For anyone who can't make this class, Calkin says they will be back in the area every two months offering classes.
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