Anticipating passage of the Florida medical marijuana amendment this fall, our favorite retired pot smuggler is hosting a conference this weekend on the business of therapeutic maryjane. Guest speakers from around the nation will spill the seed on the legal, medical, financial, and probable regulatory landscape for entrepreneurs of the growth and distribution of the salvific weed.
Conference organizer Robert Platshorn has a wealth of experience to draw on, as his personal history includes many years as an Atlantic City pitchman, many as an unauthorized importer of da kine, and a whopping 28 behind bars for the latter. Outlaw no more, he now hopes to see folks get green off the green.
The conference's all-star lineup features local hero headliners like filmmaker Billy Corben, federal medical marijuana patient Irv Rosenfeld, and lawyer-activist Norm Kent. Lesser-known but key to the event will be Florida attorney William W. "Bill" Wohlsifer. "He's worked on the [state] regulations and actually wrote quite a few of them," Bobby said. "He's in Tallahassee to work them through. He'll spend a lot of time on what the regs will look like."
Out-of-state speakers include Denver Relief Dispensary partners Ean Seeb and Kayvan Khalatbari. "They're the model dispensary for the country," Bobby said. "They've set the standard. Ean is also the chairman of the National Cannabis Industry Association. They've got a real strict code of ethics and lobby in Washington; every single serious person in the business belongs to NCIA."
Bobby's especially proud to host ace weed horticulturalist Mike Boutin, a 30-year veteran of the field and a star of the Discovery Channel reality show Weed Country. "Nobody knows how to grow it like Mike," he told us.
Because this is, as Bobby repeatedly emphasized, "serious business," lots of lawyers will be there. "They'll be needed to apply for licensing and compliance, every step of the way," he said. "Some of them have already contracted to do licensing work and they may not have a full idea what they're doing. But they're going to find out."
Touching on one of the industry's specialized technological demands will be representatives of Biotrack. "They just got the contract for the entire state of Washington for traceability, supplying the software and security, " Bobby explained. "You have to be able to trace every seed from the minute it spouts until it goes out over the counter. It's on a computer, it's tagged. It's no joke. There's going to be serious regulations and security."
Those who hope to grow or dispense medical marijuana will be in need of start-up cash, and the conference will include representatives of venture capital firm Worldwide Marijuana Investments ("When banks say 'no' we say grow").
And for the really little guy/gal? "The people who can start off with a small pocketbook will be the caregivers," Bobby said. "A caregiver has to be 21 and get a state identification card and they'll be able to grow and provide medicine for up to five people. It's a good way to get into the business."
(The conference aint cheap to attend -- $399. Though the fee includes "all work books and 4 meals.")
"It's going to be complicated and demanding," Bobby said. "People have the idea they can just jump in, get some land and grow some pot. I've seen people who think they're going to open six or ten dispensaries. They have no idea what they're facing. That's part of the reason I set up this conference. To show people what they're really going to face. I'm not telling people they're going to learn something and go out and get rich. I'm separating the wheat from the chaff."
Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting -- covers public affairs and culture in Palm Beach County and elsewhere. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.
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