From the press release:“The marijuana policy and business landscapes are evolving quickly in the U.S. and especially in Florida,” said founding partner Brian Vicente. “The expansion of the state’s tightly regulated medical cannabis program is not only fueling demand and supply, but also innovation. Vicente Sederberg has been at the forefront of these developing markets for nearly a decade, advising businesses, guiding policymakers, and building a viable and responsible industry.
“Our new Jacksonville office will allow us to expand our service offerings to our existing Florida clients and develop relationships with the many entrepreneurs and investors seeking opportunities in the state’s burgeoning medical cannabis and hemp industries.”
There are more pot workers than dental hygienists or bakers, nationwide, according to Marijuana Business Daily, a marijuana-industry publication.
Cannabis-related businesses now employ more people than there are dental hygienists and bakers in the United States and will soon surpass the number of telemarketers and pharmacists,” according to the industry mag’s Eli McVey.
The marijuana industry — which could generate up to $20 billion, according to some predictions — is set to explode in Florida, which is gearing up for implementation of the voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana for an estimated 400,000-500,000 patients within the next year.
With 29 states — including Florida — having legalized medical marijuana, the industry is now turning efforts to a push for recreational use, now permitted in seven states and the District of Columbia.
Patients won’t be able to bring their pot treatment with them when traveling through the Orlando International Airport.
The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Board approved the marijuana ban yesterday.
Click here to watch WFTV‘s report on the ban.
This got me thinking about the problems I encountered traveling in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Airport authorities were extremely nervous about liquids, even in small amounts.
I’ve been an insulin-dependent, Type I diabetic for more than … well, for a long time.
Type-I diabetic, for those who don’t know, means I need insulin to stay alive.
But that didn’t matter to some of the airport folks.
I once was prohibited from traveling with my insulin (which comes in vials or pens clearly marked as medicine).
I scrapped my trip, rather than risk going without my life-saving meds.
After that, I traveled with a notarized letter from my doctor attesting to the fact that these medications were critical.
One of the problems, I learned over the years, was that airport authorities in and out of the state treated my insulin in disparate ways.
Sometimes, they ignored it.
Other times, I was subjected to a super-duper special search after the slim needle on a syringe or insulin pen caught the attention of a security tech, who feared the metal object on her X-ray screen indicated the presence of a bomb. (I’ll save the story about the time my daughter’s teddy bear — with a music box — resulted in an airport bomb squad and dog-sniffing search for another day.)
And on a few occasions, I was forced to explain my medical condition and my treatment while a long line of stocking-footed, impatient travelers piled up behind me.
According to yesterday’s report by the television station, Orlando airport law enforcement officials say they’re not going to go out of their way to sniff out pot travelers.
Further complicating the issue, while Florida law bars patients from smoking “whole flower” — dudes, we call it “bud” — the sale of whole flower for use in vaporizers isn’t prohibited.
After reporting on MMJ for years, I know that marijuana is viewed, like insulin, as a life-saving treatment for some patients. I was inches away from a man who had an epileptic seizure while he awaited his turn to testify before a Senate committee earlier this year. His wife pleaded with attendees for marijuana-based CBD oil, while awaiting emergency personnel. The man, Michael Bowen, serves on the board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida.
But, unlike the medicine I’ve been taking for oh-so-long, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, posing a legitimate problem for law enforcement officials at airports and, most certainly, other transportation hubs.
Traveling with insulin within the U.S. has become a lot less problematic for me in the past few years. I don’t even have a letter from my doctor anymore, but an escalation in international terrorist attacks has prompted me to ask her for an updated authorization.
Sen. Rob Bradley, the Fleming Island Republican who’s been instrumental in passing the state’s medical marijuana legislation, calls the era in which dozens of states, including Florida, have legalized MMJ “a brand new world.” (Is he aware of the Aldous Huxley reference to hallucinogens?)
Traveling with treatment is just one part of that brave new world, for patients, law enforcement, and elected officials contemplating new policies.
Senate Health Policy Committee Chairwoman Dana Young will hold a workshop to try to reach consensus on how to implement a constitutional amendment, overwhelmingly approved by voters last fall, that legalized medical marijuana for a broad swath of patients.
Young, R-Tampa, told The News Service of Florida Wednesday she intends to hold the workshop during the third week of the legislative session, which kicked off yesterday.
Young said she’s hoping to find the “sweet spot” between patient access and appropriate regulation to use as the basis for the ultimate proposal.
Five separate marijuana measures now are floating in the Senate, including one co-sponsored by Young, and the House released its version of the implementation bill on the opening day of session.
All of the proposals would allow the state’s current pot growers to continue to provide marijuana for the vastly expanded market of patients under the new addition to the constitution.
But the measures also incorporate vastly different approaches, ranging from the number of additional licenses to where dispensaries can be located.
“We will workshop all of the bills that have been filed in the Senate and we will take input from members, try to answer questions and get as much information out to the committee members and to the public on each of the bills,” Young said. “I would anticipate we would put together a committee bill — I don’t have any idea what that would look like — and probably bring it up the following week.”
Young’s no stranger to controversial and complicated issues; she sponsored a major gambling overhaul a few years ago, but that proposal ultimately failed to pass.
In contrast, lawmakers are intent on passing a measure to implement the constitutional amendment, which nearly 72 percent of voters supported in November.
“It’s sort of like gaming in a different costume,” Young said Wednesday. “But all kidding aside, this is very important. If we don’t do this right and implement this right, our constituents are going to be very angry. And I feel an obligation to do it right, even if I may not love everything, personally, in the bill. We have got to make sure, above all else, that patients have access, wide access. We need to make sure that patients that can appropriately benefit from this medication, that they can get it in an appropriately regulated market. That is the sweet spot. I’ve got to find the sweet spot between patient access and appropriate regulation.”
_ Posted by Dara Kam