Amendment 2 sparks entrepreneurial interest

Cannabis Career Institute holds seminars for potential dispensary upstarts


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With the passage of Amendment 2 and the state of Florida now in the process of writing a law that allows medical marijuana to be sold in the state, local prospective business owners are looking into how to profit off what is a multi-billion dollar business nationally.

People who wanted to know more about how to set up a cannabis-based business gathered at a Hampton Inn in Bartram Park to learn from the Cannabis Career Institute, which educates people on how to do so.

People trickled in throughout the day for seminars on how to make money on the substance that is increasingly becoming legal throughout the country.

In Florida, with the passage of Amendment 2, access to medical marijuana is expanding as the state legislature spends most of this year drafting regulations for a new law.

Douglas Porter, with the Cannabis Career Institute, said they go to different parts of the country and teach people how to make money on medical marijuana, or recreational marijuana in the states where it’s been legalized.

“We’re trying to give awareness to people that there is a lot of opportunity within this industry,” Porter said. “What we’re doing is showing them the basics; how to set up the business plan; how to acquire sources, knowledge. That’s basically what it’s about.”

Porter said online research from the area led the institute to Jacksonville.

“The reason we wound up in Jacksonville (is) we have a website and, based on hits from a certain area, there seemed to just be a massive amount of interest in this area,” Porter said. “So we decided, based on the views from this area specifically, to have a class here.”

One business that’s already making money on medical marijuana is Florida Integrated Health, which is a Jacksonville-based dispensary located on University Boulevard. Christopher Ralph said the company has been operating for more than a year and said there’s tremendous demand for medical marijuana, but the new law hasn’t been written yet and current regulations are confusing.

“A lot of people are confused about the industry,” Ralph said. "(People) voted on this thinking they could open a facility, or work at a facility. Unfortunately, right now, the way the Department of Health has created these rules, Amendment 2 is nothing more than the compassionate care act.”

While Amendment 2 essentially legalized medical marijuana in Florida, the law still needs to be written, and doctors said it likely won’t be until next fall when it takes effect.

Until the new law is written, Florida will continue to operate under the old law, which only allows medical marijuana for a specific few medical reasons.

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