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Experts give status report on medical marijuana in Florida

Our most recent episode of Fried On Business dealt with the sensitive subject of medical marijuana.

I could offer a pun here, but I won’t because the issue is very important to people who are seeking relief from chronic pain and other afflictions without resorting to prescription drugs.

People like me. I recently was approved for my own medical marijuana card.

First up, we spoke with someone I call the “queen of medical marijuana” in Florida, Nicole Fried, President and owner of Igniting Florida LLC.

She heads up the local and state lobbying team for San Felasco Nursery D/B/A The Green Solution, one of the seven Florida licensed medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs).

Lest there be any confusion, smoking marijuana is still illegal in Florida, despite the provisions of a recent state constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana, Fried said.

Yet, production of anything connected to medical marijuana is legal. Medical marijuana treatment centers can sell any product related to the medicinal use of cannabis.

Six state-authorized manufacturers are producing these products, Fried said, and a seventh is nearly ready to get under way. Manufacturers are distributed by region, but they can grow and sell anywhere inside the state.

Medical marijuana treatment centers are vertically integrated, meaning they handle everything from cultivating to manufacturing to distributing the product.

Of course, all of this is still illegal on the federal level. And since the feds control the banking system, at present MMTCs are largely a cash business, Fried said.

But First Green Bank, a state-chartered institution, has begun to accept business from most of the MMTCs, she added.

More hurdles exist, as well. For instance, cities and counties are within their rights to regulate MMTCs as pharmacies or deny their permits and ban them outright. They cannot, however, stop delivery to a patient’s home from an MMTC operating in a legal jurisdiction, she said.

Fried said she expects numerous legislative fixes going forward to address industry issues such as franchising, wholesaling, and more.

Next, we spoke with Ivan Field, CEO of Medical United LLC, which is operating as

Field is not a doctor, but rather an entrepreneur. After retirement, he moved to California and actually became a medical marijuana patient due to chronic back pain.

After hearing that medical marijuana was coming to Florida, he turned his focus here in an effort to provide care to people at a more affordable price.

“Medicine shouldn’t be just for rich people,” he said.

In short, here is the process to secure a medical marijuana card:

– Make an appointment with or a similar provider focusing on medical marijuana recommendations.
– Give the provider your medical records.
– The provider will issue a recommendation and a certification letter.
– The patient then makes application to the state of Florida, which will issue the card.

Field said the biggest issue has been educating the public regarding medical marijuana. There’s still a misconception that anyone who smokes marijuana is a drug addict.

“We have cannabinoid receptors in our bodies. Why are they there?” he asked. “Human beings have been taking this medicine for more than 10,000 years.”

Field said the company has experienced discrimination when trying to open up new locations. Once the local authorities notice the nature of his business, the deal often gets scuttled, he said.

The goal, Field said, is not to get people high. It’s to get people off pharmaceuticals – and their side effects – whenever possible.

I can testify first-hand that the experience at was exceptional. I made an appointment and came prepared with all of my medical records, and they provided me with excellent service.

Contact at 786-577-0006 or visit the website.

An update on Viv

Vivian and I participated in a prayer circle for her at The Sacred Space in Miami. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had with my wife. The impact on Vivian was magical, and it gave me strength as well.

I call it a “10-tissue” event. I’m kind of emotional these days as we continue our search for a living kidney donor. Vivian needs a kidney transplant urgently.

We love and appreciate all of you who are helping us through this journey. For more information, visit

For information on kidney donation, email



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