Florida Agriculture Ready To Embrace Medical Marijuana’s Impact
Editor’s Note: Growing Produce, a website dedicated to reporting news in the fruit, vegetable and citrus growing industries and a sister property to Greenhouse Grower, posted this article in June. Stay tuned for more coverage in Greenhouse Grower on medical marijuana.
As of June 17, 2014, there were 21 states (and counting) in the U.S. that have approved the use of medical marijuana. Florida is inching closer to the fray with the recent passing of a bill and its subsequent signing by Gov. Rick Scott that allows the medicinal use of a non-euphoric strain of marijuana called “Charlotte’s Web.” Extract from the plant can be used to treat patients suffering from epileptic seizures and other related disorders. The legislative leap could be a gateway to the approval of legalizing medical marijuana, which will be voted on in November’s statewide ballot.
The highly political/socioeconomic issue has thrust the state’s nursery growers into the spotlight. Someone has to grow it, right? With only five licenses available to grow, extract, and distribute Charlotte’s Web, it would seem the best qualified operations are holding quite the coveted position. Or are they?
Ben Bolusky, VP/CEO of the Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association (FNGLA), says this deal involves a lot more than just growing plants. However, along with the added responsibility and ramped-up regulation, comes opportunity. Bolusky took time to participate in a brief Q&A session to analyze the pros and cons of this growing trend.