What benefits do you see for patients throughout Florida within this space?
Medical Cannabis and cannabinoid products provide a tremendous opportunity to help people alleviate various ailments and symptoms and provide a valuable attribute to general health. Far too many people suffer from chronic pain and medical cannabis is a fantastic alternative to prescription drugs, many of which are addictive and have very negative side effects.
What motivates you to be a part of the Cannabis Industry?
This space is probably one of the most rewarding spaces to work in. When you get to help people who have problems and need assistance that can be provided by a natural plant, it brings a great feeling of accomplishment when you can help connect those in need with those who can help.
What field are you in within the Cannabis space?
We run Can-Ed, Inc. which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that operates cannabis related B2B conferences. The first being the Florida Medical Cannabis Conference & Exhibition (FMCCE) and the second being the Florida Industrial Hemp Conference & Exhibition (FIHCE).
How can people in Florida benefit from the company you represent?
We provide education and networking in the cannabis space. We run B2B events to foster the development of the medial cannabis and industrial hemp industries. Our goal is to foster the development of the medical cannabis and industrial hemp industries here in Florida.
How did you get started within the Cannabis industry?
I got started in the cannabis industry because of a boy named Dylan who lost his battle to Leukemia.
A good college buddy of mine by the name of Ron Watson and his wife Dana lost their son Dylan at age 7.
I cannot imagine the loss Ron and Dana have endured. I tear up every time I see that lovely boy’s picture.
Ron tells the story of how he came home to Dana one day after Dylan’s passing and told her that he had a great idea. Since he was a lobbyist in the medical profession, he was going to quit his job and lobby for medical cannabis without the first client signed up. Dana response was … go for it! As many in the industry know, Ron was instrumental in the passing of the state’s first medical cannabis bill.
My background is in waste management and recycling. I run a non-profit called the Southern Waste Information eXchange (SWIX) whose mission is to assist industry and municipalities in Florida with waste issues. My wife, whose name is also Dana, runs several conferences in the environmental sector (recycling, waste conversion, remediation).
One day back at the beginning of 2015, Ron and I were talking about medical cannabis and I asked him if there were any conferences on the subject. Ron had indicated that at that time there were some national and other state events but nothing for Florida specifically.
I responded that I know nothing about the industry but I know how to run a conference. The seed was planted and I grabbed the name Florida Medical Cannabis Conference & Exhibition via a DBA with the Florida Division of Corporations on January 25, 2015.
We held our first event in Saddlebrook in May of 2017 and then again in Sarasota in June of 2018. Our 3rd conference was held in St. Pete in 2019 and our next one will be held in June of 2020 in Naples.
We also run the Florida Industrial Hemp Conference & Exhibition which we held in November of 2019 and will hold again in 2020.
Are you personally a MJ card holder?
No, not at this time.
Do you see Florida moving forward with recreational Marijuana/Cannabis and how will that affect your business?
Yes I do believe that one day we will have recreational cannabis in Florida. This would have a positive impact for us as we will hold a recreational conference on the subject.