Interview with Lori Daugherty (Gulf Coast Cannameds)
On February 21st, Lori Daugherty of Gulf Coast Cannameds will speak at Kahner Global's Cannabis Private Investment Summit in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This event gathers industry leaders and investors for a day of collaboration and networking.
In this interview, Daugherty shares the challenges, but more importantly, the opportunities that exist as states struggle through initial growing pains.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
In Florida, the issue facing medical marijuana is no longer legality, but rather limited accessibility. As more states come on line, what can they learn from each other to ease that roll out process?
States should be talking to each other to understand best practices and to really discuss what works and what doesn’t work. Every situation will be different however there are things that absolutely are working in various states and absolutely not working in the state of Florida.
We need to get the conversation going relative to how we are going to get access to our patients, how we are going to encourage doctors to take the exam and be a practitioner in medical marijuana. There are so many roadblocks in our state that access is very, very hard.
Where do we go from there?
We create opportunities by letting our Senators and our House know that we support this; that there are vehicles in place to allow it to happen and get the word out. Grassroots campaigns and additional educational seminars, which Gulf Coast Cannameds is doing, are really important at this stage.
That, and getting our legislature in Tallahassee to pay attention to us.
Speaking of turning negatives into positives, do you see any good news for the cannabis industry, specifically in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions recent comments connecting marijuana to the opioid epidemic?
Jeff Sessions is not a practicing physician. He is not a health care professional and he should absolutely not be making statements that he has no basis or data to support. We’ve all read where states who have medical marijuana dispensaries lean toward less opioid deaths in the states as a result of access to medical marijuana.
What Jeff Sessions is doing is counter to what the President campaigned on. The Cole meme rescission is counter to what our President said, but I also think the combination of the Cole memo and his comments regarding opioids is creating a buzz and creating conversation.
It’s allowing people to do their own research, to ask questions and to really dig in. It’s causing the industry to become louder which I think it needs to; it needs to be heard.
Our team has been reaching out to Veterans and to the Rotary Clubs, we’ve also been going to Chamber meetings. We have had a grassroots campaign going for about 18 months now. Where we met groups opposed to medical marijuana and have brought the data and our Medical Director, it makes people curious. When people are curious, they are engaged.
Where are those conversations being supported?
Our mayor is very involved in our conversation, our Chamber is very involved in the conversation and we have a lot of momentum here in the Pinellas County, St. Petersburg area.
One of the things I hope we can do is take that momentum to other counties and cities throughout the state of Florida. We do this as we have successes and proof of concept; as we are able to show our best practices, and as we are able to create a positive engagement for clients.
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is also working on a bill to loosen federal restrictions on medical marijuana research. How does his efforts factor into your approach?
Our lobbyists are very supportive of Gaetz and we’ve spent a lot of time talking to him. We are also working in Tallahassee to bring awareness to the difficulty certifying medical professionals. When the doctors who are certified leave the program, their patients have nowhere to go because you’re not allowed to change doctors. We’re working to change that legislation as well.
It is a multi-pronged effort and we’re coming at it from both sides, but we are supporting each other.
The Cannabis Private Investment Summit brings together the best and brightest cannabis entrepreneurs and ultra high net worth investors & family offices. It is the premiere summit for institutional investors, family offices, and ultra high net worth investors. For additional information, please visit www.cannabrunch.net or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.