For Joseph Kelley, a 23-year-old biology major, marijuana is serious business.
Currently in Colorado, Kelley can be found amid a vast field of green, living his dream and hoping to make a difference in the medical marijuana industry. However, his career may not always need to take place thousands of miles from home — that is, if Amendment 2 passes in November, allowing marijuana to become legal in the Sunshine State.
An avid supporter, Kelley said he'll do his part for the industry in Florida by speaking at the Medical Marijuana Conference in Jacksonville on Sept. 27, hosted by Green Hubris Organics. There, he'll discuss the issue at hand and his very own green business, Flocon Labs.
"I will be talking mainly about Flocon Labs and the requirements for the production of medical-grade cannabis concentrates. Most of the people attending the event will be future dispensary owners and caregivers, so we want to inform them on proper usage and safety precautions while working with concentrates," Kelley said. "Right now, it's still illegal in the state of Florida to produce cannabis concentrates, so I won't be going through step-by-step on how to make any. It will be great information on what to expect and what they will need, such as equipment, employees and material."
With Amendment 2 on the horizon, Kelley and his two partners decided to open Flocon Labs.
"We met FutureWorld Corp. at a convention in West Palm Beach, Florida. They were very interested in investing into a concentrate company, especially with the new high CBD bill in play in Florida," Kelley said.
A concentrate of cannabis is a potent form of itself. The process involves an extraction method using solvents, such as butane or carbon dioxide to strip compounds from the cannabis plant. This leaves behind a product with concentrated cannabinoids.
Kelley is very excited to be doing this type of technological work.
"I'm contracted by FutureWorld Corp. as the lead biologist for CB Scientific, which is a subsidiary company under FutureWorld. They needed someone with a biology background who also had knowledge of the industry and culture," Kelley said.
Kelley's company, Flocon Labs, will be opening here in Florida in preparation for a new medical market.
"Our company is comprised entirely of UCF students and graduates. We have all been a part of NORML@UCF, [National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws], while attending school," Kelley explained. "Flocon Labs will soon be accommodating patients and dispensaries all across the state with various medicinal concentrates."
Austin Sanchez is a good friend of Kelley's and a member of NORML, as well.
"[Kelley] continues to represent the club and school wherever he works and travels," said Sanchez, a 21-year-old junior film major. "I've known Joe for three years now. The work he does in Colorado involves researching with a team of scientists to help develop bio-extraction test kits for cannabis."
Kelley has helped developed the first at-home testing kit for finding out the relative potency of THC and CBD, the main chemicals in cannabis.
CBscientific's invention could revolutionize the process of testing products and save developers a lot of money in the process, he said.
The test will allow developers to test the potency of THC in their products in a mere 10 minutes and for about $15.
"Up until now, if you wanted to get your product tested, such as flower, concentrate or edible, you would have to pay up to $100 per sample to have a lab test it with a gas or high-pressure liquid chromatograph. You then have to wait a week or two to get your results, and they can vary based on the chromatograph operator's experience," Kelley said.
Kelley and others like him are excited for what the medical marijuana industry will be like for Florida if Amendment 2 passes.
He is already well on his way to having the upper hand in the industry here in Florida with his company Flocon Labs and his immense amount of research in Colorado. Until then, though, trips to Colorado will likely be the only way Kelley can legally be one with his passion.
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE
For more information about the Medical Marijuana Conference in Jacksonville, or to purchase tickets, visit eventbrite.com and search for the Florida Medical Marijuana Conference in Jacksonville.