The Cannabis Career Institute (CCI) held a day-long seminar last weekend in Miami with the goal to train businesspeople on establishing legitimate, legal cannabis businesses.
According to the CCI's president Bob Calkin, entrepreneurs need to be ready if medical marijuana use is approved by voters in November.
"I think that people need to understand that not only are there opportunities in growing and distributing marijuana, but there are also many services and products that are going to be providing services for the industry, and that's really where all the money is," Calkin said.
The seminar consisted of talks by medical marijuana advocates and other business strategists. Topics covered included marijuana delivery, dispensary management, law, marketing, advertising, cultivation and cooking. Calkin's group began traveling around the country five years ago to bring the business seminar to states that already had a medical marijuana program and states where such a program was a possibility. Calkin says the Florida Supreme Court's recent decision to add medical marijuana use to the November ballot made the state a good candidate for the program.
Calkin says most people who attend the seminar are businesspeople who are looking to capitalize on the possible approval of medical marijuana use.
"Everybody gets on the same page and understands what will fit in the industry," he says. "They're trying to figure out what their niche is [and] how they're going to make it in this industry and differentiate themselves from everybody else that's out there."
William Overstreet was one of about 80 people who attended the seminar. He says the legalization of medical marijuana would bring some individuals out of the woodwork and into the business world.
"We're providing a way to bring people from out of the shadows and bring them together in the community and not feel bad about themselves for using a medication that works for them," Overstreet says.
About 60 percent of voters need to approve medical marijuana use in November in order for it to become legal in the state of Florida.