On November 4, voters in Florida will vote on the legalization of medical marijuana. With 9 out of 10 Floridians in support of the proposed measure, it is expected to pass. In preparation for the imminent passage of the ballot amendment, one company has big plans to become the largest medical marijuana supplier in the state.
GrowHealthy, a medical marijuana company based in Atlanta, has recently purchased 33 acres of land in Lake Wells, Florida. According to its website, GrowHealthy has construction plans to build a massive medical marijuana grow operation capable of providing a sizable portion of the state’s medical marijuana.
Don Clifford, CEO of GrowHealthy, spoke with Reuters about the upcoming project and plans for keeping costs low. “We expect that our productivity will be dramatically higher than you see in some other states. We think our costs will be lower through the use of automation.” Much of the marijuana growing process can be simplified through the use of automatic sprinkler systems, timed lights and climate control.
Although the medical marijuana amendment has yet to be passed by Florida voters, a CBD-only medical marijuana bill, The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, was passed by the Florida legislature earlier this year. Until the more broad-based bill is passed by Floridians, GrowHealthy plans on cultivating the CBD-only strand Charlotte’s Web in the meantime.
Aside from becoming one of the largest medical marijuana providers in Florida, one of GrowHealthy’s goals is to drive down the cost of medical marijuana for patients by increasing the supply. In other marijuana states, like Washington, legal marijuana is prohibitively expensive, with some strands costing up to $400 an ounce; one of the leading contributing factors affecting price is the dearth of supply.
Currently, state law only permits a handful of nurseries to grow the non-intoxicating strand, Charlotte’s Web, but GrowHealthy was able to circumvent that regulation by partnering with approved medical marijuana growers. GrowHealthy estimates that by October, they should have around 200,000 square feet of growing space, and they hope to have their first crop ready by early next year.
The announcement of GrowHealthy’s construction plans for a medical cannabis grow operation could not have come at a better time. While most of Florida supports medical marijuana, few growers that would be able to grow medicinal marijuana have expressed interest in doing so.
Don Plank, owner of Hiawatha Nursery in Navarre, told North West Florida Daily News that it just wasn’t worth it. “I think the bottom line is for me it would not be very practical. I think nurseries that do it have to make a decision to go that way entirely or decide to stay in plants entirely.” For many nursery owners, growing marijuana was not the reason they got into the nursery business.
While GrowHealthy won’t be able to provide the entire state with marijuana, the construction of this new grow facility will definitely help mitigate the price of medical marijuana when it goes to market. There are still thousands of unknowns about how Florida’s medical marijuana industry will take shape, but for the moment it looks like Florida is on track to creating a robust and consumer-friendly medical marijuana market.