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How to Grow Pot for (Soon to Be) Legal Profit: Inside Cannabis Career Institute's Miami Seminar

BobCandMarkS.jpg
Cannabis Career Institute founder Bob Calkin (left) with seminar speaker Mark Santiago.
There's an old High Times video of legendary pot grower Jorge Cervantes that opens with "the Ganja Guy" behind the wheel of an old rusty tractor. Cervantes -- wearing his iconic disguise of black sunglasses and black dreadlocks -- tells viewers he's taking them on a tour of marijuana gardens throughout his native Spain. "Well, enough talk," Cervantes says. "I have a field to plant."

That video intro alone is enough to make anyone say, "Hell yeah! Let's grow marijuana!"

It's the same feeling many entrepreneurial Floridians are experiencing as the days count down for the historic November vote to legalize medical marijuana. Almost 150 of them packed into a hotel conference room this weekend to learn about how to make money off the coming weed revolution.

Several polls show a majority of Floridians support the ballot measure, but 61 percent must turn out to vote for the constitutional amendment to pass. And the Republican-controlled Legislature could still end up heavily restricting the number of medical marijuana businesses even if the measure is approved.

The uncertainty didn't hold back the 140 Cervantes wannabes who packed a conference room at the Sheraton hotel near Miami International Airport this past Saturday. They came out for an all-day seminar hosted by Cannabis Career Institute. The California-based online school has been holding sessions about getting into the medical marijuana business throughout the country since 2009, charging $299 a head to learn about growing sticky, icky green buds and how to sell the "medical weed" to "patients." (Cough! Cough!) The fee also includes access to the institute's online classes.

Cannabis Career Institute sold out its Miami event and another one the following day in Fort Lauderdale, says school founder and president Bob Calkin, who also runs a medical marijuana delivery service in Los Angeles. He has at least a dozen other seminars scheduled in Florida from now until the November election, including a few more in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

"I'm finding people in Florida are more aware about medical marijuana regulations," Calkin says. "They are doing their due diligence. I'm running into a highly educated demographic -- many older folks, many rich people, and many businesspeople."

The Miami event had a diverse crowd, including a dude with a "thug" tattoo on his forearm, a housewife who would grow pot to treat her husband's Parkinson's disease, and a "retiree" humble-bragging about owning a pot farm with his son in northern California's Emerald Triangle, the largest cannabis producing region in the United States.

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Hey, guys! The DEA is watching you.
The seminar covered a wide range of topics and featured several medical marijuana experts employed by Cannabis Career Institute. Calkin opened the seminar by explaining how medical marijuana entrepreneurs have set up their businesses in states such as Washington and Colorado, which are also the only two states that have legalized recreational pot use. The weed professor also talked about obstacles all medical marijuana businesses face, such as not being able to open bank accounts to deposit cash because marijuana is still an illegal narcotic in the eyes of the federal government.

The retiree, who asked me not to use his real name, so I'll just call him "Mario Verde," says the seminar is very informative for people who don't know anything about the medical marijuana industry. He was there to network with other industry people. Verde also asserts he's never tried cheeba. Like Ice Cube, the onetime E.F. Hutton of the ghetto, once rapped: "Don't get high on your own supply."

Not toking probably also gives Verde a clearer outlook on where things stand today.

"The problem is that in the state of Florida, there are no rules," Verde says. "It is based on information from other states [that have legalized marijuana]. That doesn't necessarily mean it will be the same in Florida. But the seminar is a starting point where many of these people have absolutely no concept of what it takes or what the rules are."

Verde believes the Sunshine State medical marijuana ballot measure would set up a much more regulated system than the one in the Golden State. "California is cowboys and Indians," Verde explains. "Florida seems to be moving more toward a controlled, managed, business-like atmosphere."

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Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel

3900 NW 21st St., Miami, FL

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31 comments
CCInstitute
CCInstitute

Hey Francisco! Thanks for covering us on the Miami New Times Blog!

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samueljackson864
samueljackson864

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Viv Ian
Viv Ian

Doesn't surprise me!

BrianKelly
BrianKelly

When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let's have the compassion to allow them to have it.


Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.


Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.


Support Medical Marijuana Now!


"[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane." — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, "Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997


"[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications." — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001


"[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate." — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998


"Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision." — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003


"The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses' Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine." — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995


"[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use." — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, "Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis," 1995


"When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug." — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

BrianKelly
BrianKelly

There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize medical marijuana nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.


The prohibitionist view on medical marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority of Americans.. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.


Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.


Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The majority of Americans have seen through the sham of marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.


With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what's left for a medical  marijuana prohibitionist to do?


Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Medical Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!


Legalize Nationwide!...and Support All Medical Marijuana Legalization Efforts!


disabledinflorida
disabledinflorida

About horrible, they'll be teaching to use all kinds of synthetic chemicals, all kinds of energy eating HPS and such, and turning a noble idea into corrupt corporate thing.


And since Jorge Cervantes was brought up, let him show you what could and should be done organically, and how it IS superior to any man made grow room, especially in Florida; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZM0N3z_Kikg 


There's no doubt though, the republican (not that the dems are better, both suck) legislature will have a field day making it impossible for anyone that isn't somehow lining their pockets. The ballot initiative was written by a wealthy business man, who did not take into consideration the wishes of the the average patient who would rather grow their own, or have someone they KNOW and TRUST grow it for them, and know what went into it. 


The ballot initiative is pathetic, crony capitalism at it's finest written to exploit everyone they can, while currently almost anyone in Florida can get "medicinal grade" cannabis cheaper on our local black market than it's going in any dispensary. And that will continue long after this crony money making scheme gets passed.


Why didn't they just call the initiative the "Wealthy White People Can Still Smoke in Peace, While Paying Just A Little More Up Front To Avoid Potential Lawyer Fees" initiative? Because it's going to be many times harder for poor people especially minorities, to even get approved, and these carpet baggers holding their training camps are going to help make it impossible for any poor or poor minority folks to get into the business end of things.


I love cannabis, but you got 1 no vote right here.

Mark Santiago
Mark Santiago

We will be in Tampa on Saturday and back in Miami April 5th.

Míss Miriam
Míss Miriam

That comment was pretty hysterical and outdated! You should def smoke

Dan Marino
Dan Marino

Are you talking about marijuana or your religion Johanna? I see religion doing WAAAAAAY more damage than a simple joint will ever do.

Katrina Tweddle
Katrina Tweddle

^that comment was both born of ignorance and really funny

Johanna Chen-Tov
Johanna Chen-Tov

Shamfull! Advising people on how to make money destructing brains...of teens and youth! Nice mentality!

Rick Amador
Rick Amador

And the DEA's data banks are now fully refreshed.

Cary Gonzalez
Cary Gonzalez

:LOL....yeah, the government and the tobacco industry are going to sit back and let folks grow their own...LOLOLOL.....

Robert Santiago
Robert Santiago

Indeed great way to pay for education if modeled after Colorado and no longer the incarceration of citizens for a victimless crime.

Leon Heflin
Leon Heflin

I was there. I learned a lot and made a ton of contacts.

BrianKelly
BrianKelly

"[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane." — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, "Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997


"[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications." — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001


"[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate." — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998


"Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision." — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003


"The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses' Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine." — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995


"[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use." — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, "Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis," 1995


"When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug." — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

uvegotmail
uvegotmail

You must have read a different article Johanna Chen-Tov, this made no mention of "teens". In fact it is the drug war which has caused more harm to teens that the drugs themselves. Conversely it seems everyday we find the list of ailments that cannabis may be appropriate grows. There is no legitimate argument left to keep this illegal, the benefits far out way the costs. 

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