5 March 2016

Over the past month, I’ve received dozens of calls and emails from Floridians looking to take advantage of the new Amendment 2 if and when it passes in Florida this November. As I’ve previously written, Florida has a love/hate relationship with its marijuana law and rule-making. But this time, for a number of reasons (see this), I’m confident Floridians will vote to implement a comprehensive medical marijuana program in 2016.

The number one question I get from Florida callers and emailers who want to start a medical marijuana business in Florida after a successful vote is: “Is there anything I can do now to get my business lined up for the new Amendment 2?” My response is a lot, actually, including the following:

  • Read the initiative and then read it again. The initiative is everything at this point and it’s imperative all prospective Florida MMJ operators read and thoroughly understand it because it provides the directions to the Department of Health regarding future rule-making and it sets the baselines for what’s going to be allowed for patients, physicians, and operators. Just because the initiative is short doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain important information about the future of this program. Read it until you are sick of it. And then a few days later, read it again.
  • Get to know the campaign. Getting to know the people behind the campaign now will do you a ton of good with informing your own future business plans. The Department of Health will likely look to the campaign for interpreting the ballot initiative and to assist it with rule-making. Those behind the campaign will be putting on educational events, and attending these will likely be the most cost-effective networking available to you — way better than a marijuana airport seminar, trust me. If you are serious about having a Florida cannabis business, start making friends with United for Care now.
  • Figure out where you might want to operate and learn about that local government. I cannot stress enough the importance of this. The initiative is silent regarding whether local governments will be able to opt of the new law should it pass, which, in most states, has meant local governments are free to ban if they so wish. Some Florida cities have already prepared themselves for changing state marijuana laws by enacting municipal zoning and permitting laws. Other Florida cities and counties are (and will remain) opposed to MMJ businesses. Instead of spending dollars and time planning for a marijuana business in a Florida city that will never allow one, you should instead get a handle on friendly versus non-friendly local governments. As for those local governments without a clear idea on what to do about cannabis, this is your chance to step up and help educate the local authorities about what their local industry should look like. Our cannabis lawyers have done this in countless cities and counties in multiple states and believe me when I tell you that this can profoundly impact which way a city or county will go on cannabis commerce.
  • Study other state regulatory models, including the super strict ones. You can learn a lot about what to expect from Florida by looking at other states’ regulatory models. Look at states like New YorkIllinoisNevada, and Minnesota, all of which have fairly limited and heavily controlled MMJ regimes. If Florida’s 2014 Charlotte’s Web law tells us anything (and I think it does), Florida’s new medical cannabis regime is going to be a lot more like these states than, let’s say, California, where (until the implementation of the MMRSA) the “cannabis friendly doctor is always in.”
  • Review the Florida corporate structures available and figure out now which makes sense for you. Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC) will be the “entities” that cultivate, process, and dispense cannabis to qualified patients. However, since MMTCs aren’t defined in the initiative beyond the term “entities,” that means we could be looking at either non-profits or for-profit entities. This means you should learn about the various corporate structures available to you, how they operate, and what you’ll need when you’re ready to file for your entity.

Read the rest of the article at : http://abovethelaw.com/2016/04/florida-medical-marijuana-what-to-do-now-to-have-a-cannabis-business-later/?utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=28066213&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8eoPUPIjPK90h6yJv-YWrIVwHPTFkeB-pDSvYCEXlxbnrj8vs–FXXv910BD4DfMsoLEm_LSMx4rV8FxO_5T3HcZ3IPg&_hsmi=28066213