Carlos Hermida
Author Archives: Carlos Hermida

How to Become a Budtender

There are certain traits that every budtender should have.  Should you be interviewed by your local dispensary for this position, below is what your potential boss is going to be looking for.  You should reasonably display this knowledge.

Budtending isn't just a job position.  Budtenders need to be experts.  This is what you should be experts in.Continue reading

3 Ways Florida Can Screw Up Medical Cannabis

Florida is set to be the 2nd biggest medical cannabis market in the United States.  However, Florida law makers don't have the best track record.  It is true that they might screw things up.

Below is a list of how 3 things that they might screw up.  As I was writing it I also realized that it can serve as a list of thing that prove that the cannabis business in Florida will inevitably be an open market.  Might not happen right away, but it will.  Due to the high demand for medical cannabis in Florida, a free and open market is the only way to actually meet that demand. Continue reading

Why Florida MMJ Patients Shouldn’t Have to Wait for Their Medicine

Dr Joseph Rosado is an educator for the Florida Cannabis Coalition and a Florida Physician who is certified to recommend cannabis.

At a patient meetup taking place at the newly opened Tampa dispensary, Truelieve, he tells a story of one of his first medical marijuana patients.  His patient, who is affectionately named JuJu, had terminal cancer in his neck, face and brain at 15 years old.  Rosado had his doubts if JuJu would survive due to a 90 day waiting period for Florida patients to receive their medical recommendation.  Sometimes these patients need their medicine immediately and unfortunately JuJu recently passed.Continue reading

Florida Patients Fight for Easy Access to Medical Marijuana

Three months after Floridians overwhelmingly approved Amendment 2, the Office of Compassionate Use and the cannabis patients of Florida faced off over proposed rules that would spell out who could get medical cannabis.

The Health Department's Office of Compassionate Use, the organization which regulates medical marijuana in the state, has recommended restrictions on what type of patients qualify for medical marijuana and where it can be dispensed. But the patients have spoken.  Nearly 1,300 Florida residents attended what are normally low-key bureaucratic hearings to press for a less restrictive system to access marijuana.

“Patients, doctors, caregivers and activists all had a unified message which is rare,” said Ben Pollara, who is the campaign manager for United for Care. “They want impediments removed and a free market place.”

The hearings took place in 5 of the most major cities in Florida (Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee).  Among some of the other concerns voiced at these hearings was the high prices and limited availability so far of cannabis products from the 5 of the so far 7 licensed cannabis dispensing organizations in the State. Also to put an end to the 90 day patient/doctor relationship that must be established before the doctor can actually recommend cannabis, and to ensure that the doctor would be able to deem what is a debilitating medical condition and not the Florida Board of Medicine.

Amendment 2 is set to expand the current and highly restrictive High-CBD medical marijuana system already put in place in Florida.  The patients are just concerned on how it will be expanded.  Florida has an opportunity here to become the 2nd largest medical marijuana market in the US and to help ease the suffering of approximately 600,000 potential cannabis patients at the same time.

This is one of the points that the Florida Cannabis Coalition made to the Office of Compassionate Use during these hearings.  That is this is one of the rare times that an open and free market would benefit the patients at the same time.  The open competition would help drive down the prices of the medication and would also help to produce the 66,000 pounds of cannabis a month that would be needed to treat the 600,000 potential cannabis patients.

View Tom Quigley's, the founder of the Florida Cannabis Coalition, and Carlos Hermida's, the Vice President of the Florida Cannabis Coaltion, testimonials to the Office of Compassionate Use here:


How to Start a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in 10 Steps

  1. Do Your Research

    • Just having a location in mind and an affinity with cannabis isn't the only thing that you  are going to need to open a dispensary.  You are going to have to do your research.  First take a look at the legality behind opening a dispensary in your state.  Then take a look at your local zoning laws. You will most likely have to be zoned in a commercial zone.  However, local governments tend to put their own requirements on zoning, so it wouldn't be a bad idea to reach out to your local government officials anyways.
  2. Evaluate the Risks

    • After you've done your research you will have a good idea of the risks involved with joining the cannabis industry.  Every business comes with a certain amount of risks, but the truth is the cannabis industry comes with more than the average business.
    • Believe it or not, I am not talking about the risks of going to jail.  There used to be a time when arrest was a very possible risk with joining the cannabis industry but the risk of being arrested at this point is slim to none as long as you follow the rules set by your state government.
    • Many of the risks involved with the cannabis industry at this point are:  facing social stigmas, theft or vandalism, and the vast amount of competition involved with joining this business.
  3. Seek training on cannabis

    • Once you have decided that the cannabis industry is for you, don't make the mistake of thinking that you know all there is to know about cannabis. I have been in the cannabis industry for four years now and an enthusiasts for over 15 years now.  I still learn more about this plant and this business every day.  Don't think that all you have to learn is about dispensary management and budtending, you will also have to be versed on the medical benefits of this plant and how the plant is cultivated.
    • There are plenty of institutions that provide cannabis education. Florida Cannabis Coalition being one of them; however, we are not the only one and urge you to seek additional training.  The most famous of these institutions is Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California.
  4. Design your logo

    • This is one of the first things you should do when setting up any business.  Designing your logo is when you start to see everything coming together.  It should be something simple that people can identify with.  Your logo should be the first step in setting up the theme and culture of your dispensary.
  5. Hire a Team

    • You are going to need a team of experts and professionals to help you make this into a reality. You will need a physician as a Medical Consultant, a Internet Marketing expert, a good accountant, you might need to hire a grower, you will most certainly need a good attorney.  An attorney will also help you to secure the appropriate permits and licenses, and make sure you are in full compliance with any and all regulations.
  6. Prepare a business plan.

    • You are most likely going to need to find investors. A well written business plan is going to be needed to secure your funding. It will provide potential investors with a clear description of your company's goals, assets, plans, and projections.
  7. Secure the necessary funding

    • In most cases in this business (especially in Florida) it is unclear on exactly what you are going to need to raise in order to fund your dispensary.  But, like writing most business plans, it is best to prepare for the worse and hope for the best.  Map out the worse case scenario and properly express why in the plan. Then go for the funding needed for that scenario.
    • Many people don't know where to start when searching for funding.  The best place to start is with friends and family.  Present the opportunity to anyone you know personally first.  If that doesn't work then there are a number of different avenues that you can go through.  Search for local investor pitch forums.  Also the Arcview investor group is the largest and oldest investor network for the cannabis industry and would be a good place to find an investor as well.
  8. Set up your location

    • Take the zoning issues that you researched to heart here.  You may have a difficult time finding a rental.  When renting a location to a dispensary the owner of the location takes on a certain amount of risk, and it may be difficult finding an owner to take on that risk.  However, that is not to say that this shouldn't be pursued.  If not you will have to buy your location.
  9. Start branding

    • You designed your logo, built your plan, and have a location.  You should have a clear theme for the culture of your business at this point.  Make sure your brand represents a respectable business image.  Now is the time to achieve that image.  Decorate your building, start your social media accounts and begin designing your website.  Form your company culture and make sure it grows.
  10. Conduct customer surveys

    • A helpful tool for any business that often times goes overlooked.  Find your target customers and begin surveying them.  Ask them what kind of cannabis helps for their condition or that they enjoy most. Find out what method of ingestion that they prefer.  Your customers have preferences and it is in your best interests to cater to those preferences. Doing this market research will help you to cater to them.

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Sapphire Risk Advisory Group Selected as the Security Consultant for the Florida Cannabis Coalition

Left to Right: Pete Sessa, Tom Quigley, and Tony Gallo. Photo Credit: Tony Gallo
Left to Right: Florida Cannabis Coalition's Pete Sessa & Tom Quigley with Tony Gallo, Managing Partner of Sapphire.

TAMPA, Fla. - Feb. 7, 2017 - PRLog -- Sapphire Risk Advisory Group has been selected as the security consultant for the Florida Cannabis Coalition. Florida is one of the newer States to legalize Medical Marijuana joins over 28 other States in this growing industry.

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Trump to be Advised By Colorado DA on Cannabis Reform

The National District Attorney's Association (NDAA) has created a policy group featuring 14 district attorneys who are to advise Trump on possible law or policy changes regarding marijuana.

Among the DAs selected is Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett, and Garnett isn't the only prosecutor from a state that has legalized the adult use of cannabis.  DAs from California and Oregon have also been selected to advise the Trump administration on policies regarding cannabis.

“It’s a reflection of the NDAA’s interest in having a fairly balanced committee, which will be largely advising on what our policy position should be in communications with the Trump Justice Department,” Garnett said.

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