Megan Auclair is not some tie-dye-wearing college kid whipping up potent pot brownies in the communal dorm kitchen. In fact, Auclair wants to wipe that stereotype from everyone's subconscious.
Auclair is a medical professional, an entrepreneur, and as soon as the bill for medical marijuana passes, Auclair plans to heal the state with her yum-tasting THC-containing edibles. Assuming, of course, all her customers have prescriptions.
Auclair first noticed the potential for marijuana edibles in other states where medical marijuana has already been passed. "Particularly Colorado," Auclair says. "There is a substantial amount of money in it, and it's a good opportunity."
She's studied alternatives to prescription pain medications. Having lived in Florida her whole life, she has seen the horrors of addiction trump the soothing properties that pain-pill prescriptions were intended to bring. When Auclair heard that Florida was considering adding medical marijuana to the ballot, she began planning her business. She wasn't thinking of opening a dispensary; her vision was for medicated gluten-free, vegan sweets.
Since the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for the medical marijuana question to go on November's ballot, Auclair opened a Facebook page for her future business in anticipation. She named it Green Blossom Bakery. It has over 200 likes so far. "Most people looking to open new medical marijuana businesses aren't putting 'pot' or 'marijuana' in their names," Auclair explains. "There's a stigma to it that we're trying to escape from. If [the bill] passes this will be a legitimate industry and legitimate business."
If the bill passes this November, medical marijuana will be considered legal in January 2015. Language in the proposed new law specifies that the state health department has six months to plan a regulatory framework and figure out how ID cards will be issued for patients and caregivers and how dispensaries will be licensed, plus define what an "adequate amount" of marijuana is for qualifying patients. The legislature could also pass related laws. "We will probably be able to open January 1, 2016," Auclair estimates. "But this is all speculative based on what the legislature determines."
Assuming the bill passes, Auclair says to expect all sorts of sugary recipes. "We're thinking to have a lot of candy recipes with stable shelf life," Auclair says. "But it depends whatever the market is like and what our potential patients are interested in. At this point, nothing is concrete and we haven't hammered out a full menu yet."
Even though her business depends on the legislation passing, Auclair says other entrepreneurs hoping to open future dispensaries in Stuart and Jupiter have already reached out to her. As of now, Auclair hasn't heard of another edibles business in Florida. She hopes to start at a commercial kitchen in St. Petersburg (where she lives) and then sell wholesale to the rest of the state.
In the meantime, Auclair is reaching out to other edible companies in Colorado and Oregon. She's been doing research on how those businesses operate and reading everything she can on the topic. "I know our focus will be quality," Auclair stresses. "Everything will be lab-tested to ensure a consistent dosage to make sure patients are getting the medicine they need."
And if marijuana is ever passed for recreational use, Auclair says she's ready to cater to that market also.