cannabis

Shea Castleberry works in a time capsule of sorts. He walks through the aisles of the Family Video store he manages in Murray, Ky., a small city surrounded by rolling farmland about two hours north of Nashville.

Next to the movies and popcorn, there's a new addition to his store that surprises some of his regulars.

"A lot of people are like 'a video store selling CBD?' But it really does tie into our values. Which is, we're here for the community," Castleberry said.

Florida’s Director of Cannabis has only been on the newly-created job a few months, but is already helping architect the foundation for a state hemp program.

Jose Iglesias / Miami Herald

Kim Rivers' dad was a Jacksonville Sheriff's deputy while she was growing up. For a time, he was working with an undercover narcotics unit.

Today, Rivers leads the largest seller of legal marijuana in Florida, as the CEO of Trulieve.

The company was the first to have medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, and now has the most. Revenues grew 400 percent last year to more than $100 million and sales are expected to more than double this year. It has bought dispensaries in California and Massachusetts, and announced the purchase of a Connecticut dispensary this month.

Danny Rivero

Business from cannabis is growing fast in Florida; some of it regulated tightly, and some of it without rules. But all of it comes with cash that the banking industry is reluctant to touch. 

 

The first legal industrial hemp seeds in decades are growing now in South Florida soil.

CBD is showing up in ice cream, gummy bears and cocktails, but the state says the products are illegal.

And millions of dollars are being generated by the medical marijuana industry in Florida, but few banks want the money.

Sam Turken / WLRN

More than 60 people gathered in between racks of clothes and jewelry at a Neiman Marcus Thursday night to discuss a Florida industry that is quickly growing and attracting new business—cannabis.

The networking event and seminar involved lawyers, accountants and other professionals who see opportunities in the cannabis sector and want to capitalize. They discussed state regulations for cannabis companies with people already involved in the industry and challenges new businesses can face.

NIKKI FRIED CAMPAIGN

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried ran on a platform of what she called 'the three W’s': weapons, water and weed. Within months of her swearing in, it’s that last W that’s already generating a buzz around the state. 

Daniel Rivero / WLRN

Gummy bears, oils, cocktails, ice cream ... Products with CBD in them have practically become ubiquitous in South Florida. The chemical CBD comes from the cannabis plant and that fact is leaving business owners in a kind of grey zone. But increasingly the federal government is taking notice, while regulations from the state are forthcoming.

Normally, a chief financial officer's job involves poring over balance sheets and bank statements. But in the pot business, the job still bears a lot of similarities to the illicit trade — transporting loads of cash under the watchful eye of big guys carrying lots of guns.

Just ask Tom DiGiovanni.

This chief financial officer and former Ernst & Young accountant leans into an unmarked armored van where there's a metal cage to protect the revenues for his company, Canndescent, from would-be thieves.

News Service Florida

Governor Ron DeSantis signed his first piece of legislation earlier this week: a bill allowing smokable medical marijuana in the state of Florida. It's been one of the top priorities of his administration.

With plenty of breathing room before a March 15 deadline set by Gov. Ron DeSantis, House and Senate leaders have neared completion of a measure that would do away with a state ban on smoking medical marijuana. 

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of half a dozen Democratic senators running for the White House, is reintroducing a bill on Thursday that would fundamentally end the federal government's prohibition on marijuana.

The deadline is nearing for the Florida Legislature to put a bill allowing patients to smoke medical marijuana on the Governor’s desk. Both chambers have been moving quickly to finish in time, but still are not in agreement with one another. Now both sides are expecting to file other bills to address the things they can’t come to agreement on before time runs out.

medical marijuana
Flick Creative Commons via Mark / WLRN

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried has been an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana her first two months in office.

Lawmakers Give Green Light To Smokable Marijuana

Feb 12, 2019
IStock

Patients could soon be allowed to smoke medical marijuana, but they’d have to purchase pre-rolled joints with filters, under a measure approved by a key House panel Tuesday.

Committees in the House and Senate advanced legislation to nix Florida’s ban on smoking medical marijuana, following an ultimatum issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis shortly after the Republican took office last month.

Citing a “tremendous safety threat,” Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is asking President Donald Trump to use his executive power to allow banks to do business with state-authorized medical marijuana companies. 

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