A medical marijuana school in Orlando? That could be just the tip of the billion-dollar bud. This weekend, NBC News had a story about how Tampa resident Jeremy Bufford is operating a medical marijuana school on the west coast of Florida. The company is Medical Marijuana Tampa, technically Crowdsmart Inc.
In an interview with me today, Bufford said the education side is only one prong of three: Bufford also has plans for 15 treatment centers (dispensaries in other states) and a lab. He’s also looking at treatment centers in Orlando, although he hasn’t crunched enough numbers to know exactly how many.
How big of a market could medical marijuana be? It’s a tough question to answer, Bufford said, but estimates range from 100,000 to 500,000 potential patients in Florida.
If those patients consumed anywhere from one to three grams of medical marijuana a day, at $10 a gram, carry the one, and that would make Florida a $365 million a year market on the low side.
On the high side, it could be a $5.4 billion industry. “That’s a lot of demand,” Bufford said.
As University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith put it, legalizing medical marijuana would take a part of the black market and put it into the mainstream economy.
“Taking [marijuana] from the black market into the mainstream economy would create economic activity, and like any other activity, there would be a ripple through the economy, creating jobs and income along the way,” Snaith said. “If the legal hurdles get cleared, there’s a lot of potential for growth in the industry, no pun intended. It’s taken off in Colorado, and a lot of entrepreneurs that maybe at one point in their careers were criminals are able to step into the light outside the grow house and operate as part of the economy.”
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