Medical marijuana business summit held in Altamonte Springs

By Jeff Allen, Seminole County Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, October 20, 2014, 4:17 PM EDT

Samantha Gates is a Central Florida business owner who currently sells e-liquid dispensers that people already use to dispense liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes. But the pipes can also dispense medical marijuana – and if Amendment 2 passes in two weeks - Gates says her business would take off.

“It would be huge,” said Gates.

Gates was one of dozens of business owners who attended a medical marijuana business summit Sunday in Altamonte Springs. Summit organizers said they are trying to help pave the way for business owners who could potentially sell medical marijuana in Florida if it’s legalized.

“Right now we both work day jobs and try to build our company while we’re at our day jobs and while we’re at home. So we would be able to strictly focus on making our brand even better and bigger,” said Gates.

But Amendment 2 needs at least 60 percent of voters' approval to pass – and support seems to be slipping. In an exclusive Florida Decides statewide poll, only 48 percent of people asked said they would vote “yes.”  That’s down nearly 10 percent from back in August when we asked the same question. At that time, 57 percent of people said they would support the amendment.

California business owner Ata Gonzales hopes to sell medical marijuana chocolate bars in Florida. He said he’s actually happy to see updated poll numbers.

“I’m glad that now they’re saying the numbers are much closer this might now pass, because hopefully it gets people out there to vote. We really need the 60 percent,” Gonzales said.

Most business owners and entrepreneurs we talked to remain confident.

“I feel like it will pass,” said Gates.

And even if it doesn’t pass in two weeks, many summit attendees believe medical marijuana will eventually be legalized in Florida. With several states already legalizing medical marijuana, they believe it’s an inevitable trend.

“That’s where it’s going all over the country," Gonzales said. "Eventually, my vision is that it will be recreational.”