Florida marijuana grow houses a well-kept secret


QUINCY, Fla. – After a more than two-year delay, medical marijuana is now being grown by three of the six authorized growers. It will soon be on the market, but growers hope their locations will remain well kept secrets.

State regulators approved a sixth grower on Monday. July 1 is the target date for the first legal sales of low THC oils and capsules. So far, a total of 126 doctors have completed the eight hour course required to receive authority to prescribe the THC products.

Quincy, Florida, population about 7,000, is the home to one of three up and running, legal medical marijuana grow houses in the Sunshine State. Where the marijuana is being grown, at least for now, is one of the best kept secrets in this small town.

Several residents in the town were asked if they were aware the legal marijuana was being grown right in their back yard.

“There is? Really?" Betty Sittig said. "Maybe I’d better move here.”

“One of the first legal ones? Had no idea about it," James Blackman said.

Even the owner of a local beauty salon, which is a hotbed of gossip, said she knew nothing about the legal marijuana growing in her town.

Growers hope to keep it that way. The building is unmarked except for a security notice.

”You would prefer that no one knew where you were?" reporter Mike Vasilinda asked.

”Correct. Yes," Hackey Nursery COO Jason Pernell said. "It’s better to have it that way. Yes.”

"Do you think you’ll be able to maintain that secrecy?” Vasilinda asked.

"Uh, no, but we’re going to keep it as long as possible,” Pernell said.

The grower declined to show us the inside of their facility. He and the state are both nervous about the start-up operations.

Surprisingly, local law enforcement is not.

“You know, times change. Laws change. And as public servants, whether we like, dislike whatever the law is, our job is to enforce the law, and that’s what we’re gonna do," Gadsden County Sheriff's Office Maj. James Wood said.

State law originally authorized five grow locations. Two of the original five have yet to receive the go-ahead to begin growing pot.