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Politics

Pro-Pot Entrepreneurs Lash Out at Restrictive Marijuana Measures

March 15, 2017 - 6:00am

With a push of a button, Floridians can take marijuana and make it into oil and butter, perfect for baking brownies, cakes and syrups.

Garyn Angel calls it “Magical Butter.”

Using a small, coffee-pot-like appliance, people can take marijuana, pair it with butter or any oil or syrup, and voila -- in minutes, edible marijuana is made. The cooking process takes about 90 percent less time than traditional cooking methods, and would allow patients to ingest medical marijuana.

Angel, a Port Richey resident, thought of the machine in 2010. He was sitting with one of his friends who has Crohn’s Disease, when his friend told him how difficult making edibles was turning out to be. 

An entrepreneurial Angel decided to act.

“I [thought to myself,] I have to try and help,” he said.

Like that, Magical Butter was born. Over the last seven years, the company has grown by leaps and bounds, with hundreds of thousands of people around the world buying the $175 machines to make their own edibles at home. But under current Florida proposals, edible pot could be outlawed sooner rather than later. 

Florida happens to be a big buy for the Magical Butter products -- the Sunshine State ranks second for product sales behind California, with word getting out primarily on places like Facebook and Twitter, but Angel would not disclose how many people are buying the company’s products in the Sunshine State.

“In Florida we do marketing but we don’t do it on a state-specific basis,” Angel told SSN. “It’s 100 percent social-media based.”

Recreational marijuana isn’t legal in Florida, but medical marijuana is one of the fastest-growing industries in the state, and it only stands to get bigger.

Nevertheless, Cannabis advocates like Angel have some hesitation about legislation moving through Florida.

In 2014, the Florida Legislature voted in favor of legalizing a low-THC form of medical marijuana called “Charlotte’s Web,” to be used by epileptic patients searching for relief. In November, 72 percent of Florida voters made their voices heard and said it was time to expand the drug to other conditions -- one step closer to more widespread use of the drug. 

For people like Angel, whose business thrives on the use of marijuana, the expansion has been a long time coming. Florida lags behind in legalization efforts. 

“We are considerably behind the 8 ball,” he told SSN. 

Still, business continues to boom, regardless of whether the drug is fully legalized in Florida.

Laws regulating medical marijuana are already making their way through the Legislature this year, but some proposals like HB 1397, sponsored by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, would greatly limit distributors of medical pot in Florida -- and edibles, like Magic Butter, would be strictly off limits.

Angel says that’s a problem.

“That bill is terrible,” he said. “It makes no sense. It’s completely and totally in contrast to Amendment 2 and what constituents would have wanted ... It just shows the lack of education and fear of these politicians. They run on fear of not being elected.”

He’s not alone. Others have chimed in with their distaste for Rodrigues’ bill, saying it’s a bad idea for patients and for a healthy business model. 

“This bill enshrines the seven cartels and totally closes out any free enterprise people,” said Tom Murphy, founder of St. Petersburg-based Gulf Coast Canna Meds. “There’s nothing more price-gouging than an oligopoly.”

Both Angel and Murphy were encouraged by a wholly different proposal by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, which would scrap current medical pot rules and start the entire system over from scratch.

State lawmakers have just a few months to sort out regulations for the medical pot industry, but Angel says Florida has been incredibly slow on the uptake, well behind other states. The time is now, he said, to act.

“People are disappointed in not just the bills that are proposed, but by the lack of action by elected officials in their own municipalities,” he said.

Angel says he believes state lawmakers are scrambling and failing to create legislation to easily regulate the drug -- and only at their own peril.

“Most people can’t hit a fastball because they’re trying to aim it where it is instead of where it should be,” he said. “If we were aiming where the ball was going to be, we would probably stop striking out as a state.”

 

 

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.

 

Comments

The will of the people was medicine, no legalization of marijuana. Your "list" is meaningless

The List is not meaningless, it will record those that seek to overcome the voting citizens of Florida. It will record those that seek to keep people in pain and misery. Best to avoid getting on that list.

The rules for market entry - for patients, doctors and growers are so restrictive it results in a product cost 10 times that of Colorado. These 7 dispensary's that paid to play in Florida will fail - there is just not that much a demand for $100 gram Cannabis when the local black market cost is under $10.00 a gram. Processing cannabis into oil seems to be something patients can do at home with raw flower. You can order the oil online and have it delivered to my home Via USPS, without a prescription, For the cost of an Oz of cannabis in Florida, you could fly to Denver, rent a car spend a day skiing in the Rockies, stop by a dispensary pick up cannabis oil, fly home and you will save about $1,000 vs trying to get two doctors to approve your access in Florida. in fact there are 1000's of Florida dispensary's working day and night to bring weed to millions of Floridians - they have been in business for years - there is a least one in every High School in the state. Go ahead Tallahassee make us "safe" from weed, don't let us eat it, smoke it or Vape it - i could (almost) feel sorry for the investment these 7 pay to play cartel cannabis license holders have shelled out - They will not see a return on there investment until the cannabis market is wide open, for all to enter - and compete.

As a conservative republican and herbalist, and non-user of MMJ, I'm disappointed in how slowly MMJ is moving. I've studied for years the medical use of Cannabis, THC and CBD, in combination and separately. The medical uses are astounding. There are also various terpenes, flavonoids and various other medicinal compounds in Cannabis. For people searching for natural medicine it will be very important for the State of Florida to act in the best interest of MMJ users and not the boogie man.

I was an occasional recreational user and thought the medical arguments were rubbish. Then I got anxiety - burnout from the stress of running a business. The drugs my doctor prescribed were terrible. Medical grade MJ helped control the problem and I think I'm close to being fully recovered. The known side effects and risks of what my doctor prescribed was nausea, depression, suicide, and stroke. Marijuana is far safer. I know this sounds counter intuitive, but it also helps me control asthma and chronic bronchitis. I get bronchitis less frequently when I smoke occasionally. I wasn't taking for that reason, it's just a positive side effect I have noticed. If I could get some high CBD and low THC MJ, I would take before jogging. Right now it's very hard to jog with asthma. And I wouldn't want to try it stoned. But if I could get the same effect where muscle spasms in my lungs were controlled without the high it would be a life changer. I personally think this should become the socially acceptable drug over alcohol. My mother was a bar tender and managed bars when I was growing up. There are too many social problems with alcohol to enumerate, and the health issues are staggering. Society will never stop using drugs. However, we could pick our poison more wisely. The biggest problem with marijuana isn't the drug itself. It is how the government and society treats the drug. Prohibition causes problems that far exceeds the problems using marijuana causes. In fact, if society really wants to curtail recreational drug use, treat drug use and addiction like a medical and psychological problem, not a criminal matter. Being conservative doesn't require one to be stubborn and stupid. I think the conservative choice is quite often a more pragmatic choice. Our priorities with drugs should be first, keep society at large safe. Especially non users safe from users. Crack down on poor choices made while under the influence, but not for merely being under the influence. Our second priority should be to keep users safe. Gangs and drug dealers don't have rigorous safety and quality requirements. And when their users get addicted they aren't there to help them turn their lives back around. Taxes on drugs should go towards education to prevent drug use, and treatment to treat addiction. Currently we just throw people in prison, at a cost to tax payers of about $50,000 per year per inmate. Can you imagine how many full ride scholarships that would pay for? 4 years in the pen costs about the same as 4 years at Penn State. Actually, Penn State is probably much cheaper. Let's be smart about drug use, both medically and recreationally.

Agreed!

Is the current law only allow for cbd oils with low thc?? Do you have to be terminally ill to get the actual plant?

I hope some one is keeping a list of the politicians that are opposing the will of the people. A politician who finds his name on that list might find the the exit door in November.

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