William “Bill” Monroe
President, Advocate, Inc.

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

My goals for patients are education, answers provided to their questions, and quality medical products, which have been developed by professionals within a regulated environment. Competition and a free market, developed over time, will drive prices down and create innovation. The medical program has not rolled out as fast as advocates desire, but we do have a program, while other states are struggling to just pass a basic program. In Florida we are blessed to have advocates, from around the state, working together to create change. Yes, there are ups and downs, three steps forward and two steps back, but it is progress just the same. I see this as a benefit for patients. They now have additional options, which are plant based and safe.

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

My parents were educators — my father a high school teacher and my mother an elementary school teacher. Every summer we would load up the old four door Fury with sleeping bags, tents, Coleman stove in the trunk, and off we would go across the country staying the night at KOA campgrounds. Dad would pull over and read every historical roadside sign, which would drive my mother crazy. The cannabis industry is brand new. There are no college courses, text books, legacy information, to draw upon in creating this vertical license structure and operations. This excites me and drives me to develop materials, educate, self-learn, enter into the discovery process, and share with others. I have two children who are horticulture graduates from the University of Florida, and two more waiting on their UF admittance. My desire is to develop a sound medical marijuana program that includes patient education, support, and guidance.

What field are you in within the Cannabis space?

Good question. First I was with a license holder, but resigned and moved on. I am currently a cannabis consultant with Advocate, Inc., developing reports for the Florida cannabis industry, supporting medical marijuana doctor clinic operations, providing supply chain logistics and instructional systems design development of educational materials, and developing standard operating procedures and supporting documentation. In addition, I source packaging materials, automatic medical fill equipment, facilitate business relationships, and act as a cannabis outcome provider. My niche is logistics. 

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

Businesses benefit when their operations are documented, developed upon best practices, and run efficiently. This is what I do. Evaluate, document, report, create efficiencies, and identify beneficial business relationships and secure those assets. These efficiencies drive down prices for patients, and lower expenses for businesses, which are passed down to the patient. A win-win for all parties.

How did you get started within the cannabis industry?

It started with my son who exited the University of Florida with a degree in horticulture. I wanted to start a father and son medical marijuana business in Florida. I was a bit naïve thinking that licenses would be obtainable. I created a 165-page business plan, visited various states, but had to abandon this plan when I realized the game was rigged. My son left for Colorado, and I started blogging on medical marijuana, politics, advocated for change, networked, and clawed my way into the program. The process is ongoing, and can be a grind, but I persist. Why? I feel like I am making a difference in my life and other lives in Florida. 

Are you personally a MJ card holder? 

No, not yet. I have spoken with Dr. Barry Gordon, but work seems to get in the way with my drive over to Venice. Cannabis would certainly be safer than the NSAIDs. Have I used cannabis? Absolutely. 

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

Recreational is a program. Creating a free market or a horizontal limited license market would create more opportunity, demand, create jobs, and a requirement for executives. Currently, we have 14 license holders, seven or eight have really moved forward. A few license holders seem to be lagging way behind in last place. Putting restrictions on licenses, throttling back free enterprise, creates high prices for patients, does not create innovation and new products, and tends to mimic a state system, which is not efficient or fair to patients. Recreational would create opportunities, taxes, and demand for services.