Pete Sessa
Florida Cannabis Coalition

What benefits do you see for patients throughout Florida within this space?

There are so many benefits I don’t even know where to start. We can now medicate in our own homes without fear of law enforcement or feeling like criminals. There is a variety of safe, tested medicines available so that we are not forced to go to the black market and trust the word of somebody on the street. And dispensaries are providing an enormous amount of education to the general public on cannabis, which is a huge benefit to not just current patients, but future patients. We are signing up patients to the program at a rate of 10,000 every month. And if you think you don’t qualify, think again.

What motivates you to be a part of the Cannabis Industry? 

I was born on 4/20 so a lot of people tell me I was born for this industry. All kidding aside, Cannabis has been a big part of my life for a very long time. I didn’t really understand why fully until about five years ago. Until then I had probably been what you would call a sideline activist. Kind of paying attention … kind of spreading the word … kind of, but not really. When I had the opportunity to start the Florida Cannabis Coalition in 2014, things started to become clear. I learned more about the science behind the plant and I learned more about how it was helping people. But most importantly, I met the children who had terrible afflictions that could be helped with cannabis, but it was not available to them. That became a central motivator for me and since then seeing all the good cannabis is bringing to peoples’ lives has made this the most fulfilling career move, I could’ve possibly made.

What field are you in within the Cannabis space?

Florida Cannabis Coalition’s central purpose is education and connection. But not in the sense that we hold classes or do any kind of classical teaching. What we do is reach the masses, the uneducated, the people who don’t know the benefits of cannabis, the people still stuck in the propaganda of the 20th century. One of the ways we do this is by hosting events across the state. The big one we have coming up is in Miami on June 21-23 called the Marijuana, Hemp and Health Expo. I’m super excited about this one because it’s going to be our biggest ever. We are inviting not only cannabis companies but health and wellness companies from across Florida and the country to come and exhibit and interact with people from all walks of life. 

How can people in Florida benefit from the company you represent?

If you follow our social media and attend our events, which are free for patients and for veterans, you can benefit from the Florida Cannabis Coalition. You can connect with the community at our green carpet events that we host twice a month, in a different city every other week across the state. You can come to our larger events also and meet people like Dr. Sue Sisley who will be at the Miami event in June. Dr. Sisley just completed the first FDA-approved study on cannabis for PTSD and veterans. Watch our videos, subscribe to her YouTube channel, visit our website, and join up to support spreading good information about cannabis. And if you’re looking to be a part of the industry, there is simply no better way than attending one of our events. I talk to someone almost every week who tells me they got their start in the cannabis industry by attending a Florida Cannabis Coalition event. 

How did you get started within the cannabis industry?

I had left a career in marketing and was looking for something more for fulfilling so I could sleep better at night after my day at work. I met Tom Quigley who was in the process of entering the cannabis space back in 2014. After a two-hour meeting at Starbucks we started the Florida Cannabis Coalition and have not looked back since. The first thing we did was attend every cannabis event that we possibly could. We traveled to California, Las Vegas, Seattle, Colorado, Boston, Arizona … multiple, multiple times, attending many different events. That’s one of the things we’ve tried to bring to the state of Florida.

Are you personally a MJ card holder? 

Yes, and as far as I know I am the only Florida medical marijuana patient whose card says 420 which is my birthday and 710 which is the expiration date.

Do you see Florida moving forward with recreational Marijuana/Cannabis and how will that affect your business? 

I see the United States moving forward with adult use cannabis or removing it from the controlled substances list within the next year and a half. Florida needs to get ahead of this. Regulations must be created for when it happens or it’s going to be left up to the legislators to dictate what the regulations are for adult use cannabis in the state. That’s the big reason we support the Regulate Florida initiative which has a lot of protections for the people built into it that the legislature would not be able to supersede. For example, the ability to grow six plants per adult per household. If we do not have something like Regulate Florida in place by the time the federal government removes cannabis from the controlled substances list, the state legislature could tell us that we cannot grow our own. Regulate Florida would protect that right. As far as how that will affect our business, we’re probably going to need a bigger office.