Florida: Governor Demands Lawmakers Lift Ban On Smoked Cannabis

1200px-Seal_of_Florida.svgFLORIDA: Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis last week told lawmakers to lift a legislatively imposed prohibition on the inhalation of medical cannabis.

Lawmakers imposed the ban in 2017 in response to the passage of a voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing the use and dispensing of medical cannabis. The ban prohibits registered patients from possessing marijuana “in a form for smoking” and bars the use of herbal cannabis except in instances where it is contained “in a sealed tamper-proof receptacle for vaping.” The 2016 constitutional amendment contained no such restrictions.

Governor DeSantis said that he opposed the legislature’s changes because they amended the law in a manner that was “not in accordance with what the amendment envisioned.”

In May, a Florida Circuit Court judge ruled that the ban was unconstitutional. That decision was appealed by the administration of former Gov. Rick Scott. By contrast, Gov. DeSantis says that he will drop the appeal. Legislation was filed on Friday, SB 372, to permit patients to possess and inhale herbal cannabis preparations.

NORML has long argued against limitations on the inhalation of herbal cannabis, opining that inhalation provides patients with the ability to self-titrate their dose and is associated with the rapid and consistent onset of drug effect.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

 

Benzinga’s 2nd Annual Cannabis Capital Conference to Draw Key Players in the Burgeoning Industry

FLORIDA: North America’s leading cannabis entrepreneurs and investors will flock to beautiful Miami, Florida, Jan. 15-16, 2019, for the second annual Cannabis Capital Conference, hosted by premier financial media outlet Benzinga. This highly-anticipated event sets the standard among cannabis conferences, offering unparalleled access and seamless interaction between the entrepreneurs who are establishing highly promising companies and the investors whose capital will fuel their efforts.

Cannabis Capital Conference

Returning to present at the event once again are top investors like CNBC’s Tim Seymour, Jon Najarian and New Cannabis Ventures founder Alan Brochstein. They will speak alongside some of America’s leading CEOs, who are expertly guiding today’s standout cannabis companies to success.

“Benzinga’s Cannabis Capital Conference brings together the crème de la crème of the cannabis world,” said Neal Hamilton, vice president of marketing for Benzinga. “Benzinga has long presided as a financial media leader, offering broad coverage relative to the cannabis space. We now bring that standout expertise to a live setting where entrepreneurs and investors can network, forge deals and learn from today’s top cannabis influencers, policymakers and innovators. No other cannabis conference facilitates the level of access or the seamless interaction between cannabis investors and entrepreneurs that the Cannabis Capital Conference provides.”

Tickets for the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference are on sale now and can be purchased online. Investors can qualify for free passes by emailing bzcannabis@benzinga.com.

The Cannabis Capital Conference will kick off Jan. 15 with an exclusive, invitation-only cannabis executive retreat. This C-suite event will be held exclusively for cannabis operators and executives. Discussion topics will include post-legalization Canada, the next steps for legalization in the United States, 280E and more. That evening, a general admission networking event will take place for all conference participants.

On Jan. 16, the Cannabis Capital Conference will get into full swing with a full day of engaging panels, exclusive investor presentations, speed networking and more. The second day represents the perfect opportunity to make deals and learn from policy makers, influencers and trailblazers.

420MEDIA Trailblazers In Cannabis: Scheril Murray Powell, Esq., President of Green Sustainable Strong

trailblazers in cannabisDigital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create a series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we’ll profile a noteworthy business pioneer, and ask each 5 questions.  This week’s featured trailblazer is Scheril Murray Powell, Esq., President of Green Sustainable Strong, LLC.

1. Tell us about your Company.

I have a number of companies that service the Agriculture and Cannabis Industry.   I am a Florida licensed Attorney and have a boutique Agricultural and Cannabis Law Firm. I also own Canna Headhunters, a Cannabis Staffing Agency and an online Cannabis Merchandising Company called Cannurban.com.   I am a shareholder with a CBD Company called R and R Naturals and we are launching an online network called R & R Naturals TV.


Scheril Murray Powell2. Why did you choose the cannabis/hemp business?

I started as a Lawyer and as I learned more about the industry, I got more ideas about opportunities to contribute to the industry in ways that line up with my strengths.   Once I started building relationships with the patient and veteran community, I knew that my entire life’s work was to prepare me for this industry and helping these people.

3. What change will your firm address in the industry? Does it address an unmet need?

I think SMP Law has a commitment and agility that is not traditionally seen in Law Practices.   I lobby from the municipality level to the Federal Level, I help legalization pass and get implemented in foreign nations, I work on applications, and match license holders with funding.  It is a very unique, and values driven firm. It is also unique that SMP Law supports both the Hemp and Marijuana sides of the business. Canna Headhunters is my personal contribution to making sure that the user base and ownership base of Cannabis mirror each other from a diversity perspective.  My gifts and apparel line, www.cannurban.com, is a silent protest to the restriction of patient access as a result of “wellness privileges.”  Finally, my Consulting Firm Green Sustainable Strong, LLC finds funding, resources, and education to farmers and industry newcomers.  My business partners Ginger McNab, Billy Rennalls, and I are committed to being catalysts for positive, progressive change in Cannabis.

Cannurban Apparel4. What has been the reaction to your product/service/technology?  

I believe that the clear good will intent comes across in our product and service design.  The industry and mainstream audience have embraced our concepts. I love the reaction that I get when I post someone that I “catch” wearing www.cannurban.com gear around the world.   There have been sightings in Amsterdam, Jamaica, and even in front of hemp houses.

5. Are there any upcoming milestones for your company?

Yes, we are looking forward to more international partnerships in 2019.  My radio show with Arby Barroso and Nasser Almulla, Cannabis Life Radio, will have an expanded footprint and content. Green Sustainable Strong is planning a National Tour introducing farmers to hemp as a diversification crop.   The cannurban.com line will expand to have true luxury gifts for the holidays and Valentine’s Day. Finally, we plan to launch the Green Sustainable Strong Marketplace by April on 2019. The Canna Headhunters website will be completely transformed and more intuitive during December of 2018.  Finally, as a member of the University of Florida Hemp Pilot Program, I am really looking forward to hemp being grown in Florida.

Where can readers learn more?  

You can learn more by following me on Facebook, Instagram, subscribing to the Scheril Murray Powell YouTube  page, and going on www.cannurban.com to see our new products.

Surterra’s Beau Wrigley, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Create New Medical Marijuana Brand Coral Reefer

GEORGIA:   Surterra Wellness, a leading medical cannabis company, has announced a landmark global licensing deal to create a new medical marijuana brand, Coral Reefer. The new venture between Surterra and Coral Reefer will develop and market medical and therapeutic cannabis products, merchandise and a broad range of wellness lifestyle products under the Coral Reefer brand – the namesake of Jimmy Buffett’s world-famous band.

Coral Reefer products will be distributed exclusively through Surterra’s rapidly growing network of stores.

“Finally, ‘the time has come,’ as the Walrus said,” Buffett said. “That time being the long overdue recognition of the numerous healing properties of cannabis. I have followed and studied with keen intensity the recent evolvement of the medical marijuana story and the path towards the simple common-sense conclusion that cannabis is good medicine and should be made available to all who need it. I feel that joining with Surterra, in the medical cannabis world, is the right place for Coral Reefer products to be.”

Buffett’s business partner and Coral Reefer CEO John Cohlan said: “Our brands are about quality and improving people’s lives. We based our decision to work with Surterra in this new industry on the professionalism of its world-class management and commitment to quality and customer service. Surterra shares our vision of creating a cannabis wellness lifestyle brand that improves the health of millions of people around the world.”

“Obviously, with Beau Wrigley as chairman, Surterra possesses an understanding and capability for developing and honoring iconic brands,” Cohlan said.

The Coral Reefer licensing agreement comes one month after Wrigley, the former chairman and CEO of the family-founded gum and confections company, joined the Georgia-based medical cannabis company as board chairman. Wychwood Asset Management, Wrigley’s investment arm in West Palm Beach, Fla., recently led Surterra’s $65 million series C equity fundraising round, bringing the total capital raised to more than $100 million since 2015.

“Jimmy and the Margaritaville team have built premium brands that are widely admired and recognized around the world,” Wrigley said. “They share a long-term commitment to consumers and quality that we espouse at Surterra and together we have the infrastructure and capital to support fast growing, high-quality brands. We are thrilled to be partnering with them.”

After launching in Florida in 2019, Surterra plans to expand into additional states, with details to be released early next year.

Jake Bergmann, Surterra’s CEO, said, “This strategic partnership delivers on Surterra’s commitment to quality, integrity and building brands that consumers can trust. Our team at Surterra has established a reputation as thought leaders in this new industry, and our strategy will continue to lead with innovation, building a world-class portfolio of brands and products and expanding our business into multiple state and international markets.”

Commenting on the changing social views on cannabis, Wrigley said, “medical marijuana is a wonderful, natural product that helps people all over the world improve their health and well-being.”

Florida: Court Strikes Down Legislative Ban On Medical Cannabis Smoking

FLORIDA: A Florida Circuit Court judge has ruled that a legislatively enacted ban on the smoking of medical cannabis by qualified patients is unconstitutional.

State lawmakers in 2017 passed Senate Bill 8A – which sought to amend provisions in Amendment 2, a voter initiated constitutional amendment permitting the use and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. Specifically, SB 8A prohibited the possession of marijuana “in a form for smoking” and barred the use of herbal cannabis except in instances where it is contained “in a sealed tamper-proof receptacle for vaping.” Seventy-one percent of Florida voters approved Amendment 2 in November 2016.

Backers of Amendment 2, including the group Florida for Care and longtime medical activist Cathy Jordan, challenged the ‘no smoking’ ban – arguing that lawmakers improperly sought to overrule the will of the electorate. Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers ruled on Friday in favor of the plaintiffs.

“Section 381.986, Florida Statutes (2017) unconstitutionally restricts rights that are protected in the Constitution, and so the statutory prohibition against the use of smokeable marijuana permitted by [a] qualifying patient is declared invalid and unenforceable,” the judge opined. “Qualifying patients have the right to use the form of medical marijuana for [the] treatment of their debilitating medical condition as recommended by their certified physicians, including the use of smokable marijuana in private places.”

NORML has long argued against regulations that limit or restrict patients’ access to whole plant herbal cannabis. Many patients seeking rapid relief from symptoms do not benefit from cannabis-infused pills, tinctures, or edibles because they possess delayed onset compared to inhaled cannabis and are far more variable in their effects.

“This ruling is a victory for Florida voters and, in particular, Florida’s patient community,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “These legislatively enacted restrictions arbitrarily sought to limit patients’ choices in a manner that violated the spirit of the law, and cynically sought to deny patients the ability to obtain rapid relief from whole-plant cannabis in a manner that has long proven to be relatively safe and effective.”


The Court’s opinion in the case: People United for Medical Marijuana et al v. Florida department of Health et al., appears online.

For more information, contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at: keith@norml.org.

Recent Recreational And Legal Marijuana Expansions Boost Cannabis Related Travel Experiences

FLORIDA: Cannabis companies are capitalizing on the overwhelming growth and demand throughout the industry, creating unique services and products that are producing significant revenue streams.

One of the fastest growing sectors in leisure travel appears to be the legal cannabis industry that targets individuals who want to learn more about potential investment opportunities in the cannabis and legal marijuana business market space, while experiencing a Napa Valley type of luxury vacation. Puration, Inc and ML Capital Group have partnered to introduce Cannabis Tourism to the New York Times reported 1.2 billion international travelers worldwide.

The Cannabis Tourism Service will initially target what the Denver Post reported as Colorado’s $19 billion tourism industry. Additional Cannabis Tour destinations are in the works.

13 Challenges Filed Over Medical Marijuana Licenses

FLORIDA: Florida’s Department of Health has received 13 administrative challenges over the selection of nurseries to grow medical marijuana in the state.

An administrative challenge has been filed in all five regions. Redland Nursery filed challenges over the awarding of licenses in two regions.

The Office of Compassionate Care named the five nurseries Nov. 23. In order to qualify, nurseries had to have been in business in Florida for at least 30 years and grown a minimum of 400,000 plants at the time of the application.

Law Enforcement Backs Legalizing Marijuana In Florida

FLORIDA:  The fight to legalize marijuana continues in Florida, but this time, some law enforcement officials are supporting the idea.

At the Collier County Library located off Airport Road, a small group gathered to discuss the benefits of recreational and medical marijuana.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and the ACLU said 40 percent of all drug arrests are related to marijuana. They believe law enforcement could better spend their time on more serious crimes if the drug was legalized.

The groups attributed marijuana to decreased crime in states like Colorado and Washington D.C., and say if it is legalized in Florida, it would create jobs, relieve a tax burden, and give ill patients additional health care choices.

Florida Lawmakers Struggle With Medical Marijuana Bill

FLORIDA: A Senate panel this week will take up a bill that would allow terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana, as lawmakers continue to grapple with whether to go beyond a 2014 law that approved a limited form of cannabis.

The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled Thursday to take up the bill (SB 460), sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, that would allow marijuana for patients with terminal conditions. A similar House bill (HB 307), sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, and Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, has been approved by one House panel and is pending in the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee.

Medical Marijuana Advocates Hoping To Extend Use

FLORIDA: Calling the state’s issuance of five medical marijuana cultivation licenses inadequate, advocates for patients and nurseries are redoubling their efforts to expand the list of ailments that qualify for treatment with low-potency marijuana.

A non-euphoric strain of marijuana popularly known as ‘Charlotte’s Web’ has been found to effectively treat patients suffering from a severe form of epilepsy. Last year, the Florida Legislature legalized the use of the strain by those patients, as well as people diagnosed with cancer.

Cultivation of Charlotte’s Web is regulated by the Florida Department of Health‘s Office of Compassionate Use, which this week awarded licenses to one nursery in each of the state’s five regions. Roughly two dozen nurseries that had applied didn’t make the cut, and some are considering appealing, arguing the state’s scoring system may have been flawed.

Tallahassee’s leading medical marijuana lobbyists are pledging to help facilitate the appeals while they work to convince lawmakers to add 14 new ailments to the two qualifying conditions currently in the medical marijuana law. Ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to ALS, the added conditions could produce a flood of new medical marijuana patients and a need for more cultivation licenses.