Norm Kent, the past President of the Board of Directors of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), has opened up a new medical marijuana consulting firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Florida Cannabis Consultants will be doing business as FCC420.com.
"Frankly," said Kent, "with a constitutional amendment on the ballot to approve marijuana wellness centers here in the Sunshine State, entrepreneurs, growers, and venture capitalists are going to need guidance and direction. I am being swamped with calls and I needed to set up a vehicle to respond professionally."
Few people in the industry can bring to the table the breadth and depth of experience that Kent can, having first worked with NORML four decades ago when he was a student and "toker," he acknowledges, at Hofstra University. Kent sarcastically notes that "yes, marijuana was a gateway drug. It led to a higher education, law school and a lifetime of fighting for social reforms."
"Today," Kent notes, "my youthful indiscretion has become a a professional crusade." In Florida, it's on the verge of coming to fruition. Early polling suggests nearly 72 percent of Florida citizens support medical marijuana. For the amendment to prevail, 60 percent of the voters must approve the initiative. Kent states that his consulting firm, formed with his law partner, Russell Cormican, "will guide clients through the emerging rules and regulations for Florida wellness centers."
Kent, who has become somewhat of a regular on national TV defending cannabis consumers on the Nancy Grace show, indicates that his new consulting firm "will provide up to date and cutting edge advisories warning 'cannabiznesses' of the pitfalls and problems which may occur as they seek to invest their monies and open the their doors."
Importantly, Kent warns that you can't start to "grow now and assert a medical defense tomorrow. The amendment has to pass first." He adds "you can prepare but you can't plant."
In 1982, as a young attorney, Kent once sued the state of Florida to prevent it from spraying the deadly herbicide paraquat on marijuana fields growing in the state. Today his goal is to help the state craft reasonable rules and regulations for the dispensaries and wellness centers which will open when and if the amendment passes.
"No one is better equipped to do so," says his business partner, Russell Cormican. "As the chair of NORML, Norm has criss-crossed the country as a medicinal marijuana advocate, lecturing in colleges, legal conferences, and advising legislators. He is a legitimate expert." Kent served as vice chair and then chair of NORML from 2012-2014, and has served on their Board of Directors since 1996.
It was Kent who pioneered medical necessity defenses for cannabis consumers in Florida as far back as 1988. One of his clients, Elvy Mussika, is one of only four living Americans who have cannabis grown and delivered to them monthly by the federal government. A criminal defense attorney in South Florida for 35 years, since 1979, Kent also successfully represented patients and caregivers of the Key West Cannabis Buyers Clubs in the early 1990's.
"The public is tired of prohibition. It seeks access to medicinal marijuana. I hope to help craft the rules so it happens fairly," Kent stated, adding "I also want to insure that consumers and investors do not become victims of flim-flam artists and fly-by-night con artists. At FCC420.com, we will be like a third base coach, letting players know where the scoring opportunities are."
FCC420.com will be providing its clients with online weekly updates and advisories through its password-protected website.