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Businesses, people ready to capitalize if marijuana legalized in Florida

Posted: April 8, 2014 - 7:11pm  |  Updated: April 8, 2014 - 11:57pm

Businesses are laying the groundwork to sell pot in Jacksonville in anticipation of the voters approving the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida later this year.

Organizations across the state have quietly started setting up shop — some setting up blank websites, others filling out state paperwork — waiting for a Nov. 2 vote that will determine whether medical marijuana can legally be sold in Florida.

Cannabis University of Florida is one of those organizations, but one of the few that’s starting business before the referendum.

Donavan Carr, who founded Cannabis University of Florida in March, will offer seminars on how to run a marijuana business and how to grow pot. The first set of courses will begin for the public in May, and the second set will begin in June — although participants will grow tomatoes, not marijuana, until the state legalizes medical marijuana.

Carr said his goal is to help residents realize the economic potential of marijuana as well as the potential to help patients with chronic symptoms.

“They think of the people in the 60s and 70s who were just getting high and partying, and that’s not what we’re doing,” he said.

Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said Florida is a prime state for a booming medical marijuana industry since its population is so large, the Times-Union previously reported.

“Based on what we’ve seen in other states and adjusted for Florida’s population, we project that a medical industry regulated in a similar way to Colorado [before all adult use was legalized] could do $600 million in sales in a year,” West said.

Carr said he’s heard from hundreds of business professionals in Northeast Florida who are eager to get into the industry.

According to state data, Jacksonville businesses could be set to open if the measure passes in November.

Dozens of businesses across the state have registered this spring with the intention of selling medical pot or edible marijuana products.

 

Meredith Rutland: (904) 359-4161

 
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