One of the nation's largest cultivators, producers and retailers of government-sanctioned marijuana is planning to build up to three greenhouse buildings on the site of the former Treadwell Nursery in Lake County.
MedMen Enterprises, the Los Angeles-based pot provider, last June paid $53 million for the medical marijuana treatment center license and other assets of Treadwell Nursery.
The company and its local agent, MME Florida LLC, declined requests for interviews, but an application for an environmental resource permit filed with the St. Johns River Water Management District in January provides a look at what's to come at the 10-acre nursery at 25540 County Road 44A in unincorporated Eustis.
Phase I of the project includes a 53,273-square-foot greenhouse, with a second building of 9,608 square feet designated for chillers and mechanical equipment. A second phase, described only as to occur in the future, involves a third greenhouse building of 50,684 square feet.
Two existing single-story buildings on the Treadwell site, one with 23,324 square feet and the other with 23,521, will remain part of the new grow operation. Construction will include 90 parking spaces.
The company describes its grow facilities as utilizing "the latest technology and sustainable techniques with manufacturing standards comparable to those in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries."
Security is obviously a concern, and the application includes depictions of walls, fencing and gated entry.
This would be the second major grow facility in Central Florida. GrowHealthy operates a 200,000-square-foot hydroponic nursery in Lake Wales.
MedMen employs more than 1,100 people and currently operates 19 licensed cannabis facilities in cultivation, manufacturing and retail in California, Nevada, New York and Arizona.
The Florida Legislature first authorized the use of low-THC marijuana, which is non-euphoric, in 2014. Voters demanded more extensive treatment opportunities, and overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana in 2016.
MedMen's deal with Treadwell provides the company the right to open 25 medical marijuana dispensaries across Florida. On its web site, the company says it is now offering delivery service in the Orlando area and has stores in Key West, Miami, Orlando and West Palm Beach "coming soon."
"Florida is the third-most populous state in the country with a medical marijuana market estimated to reach $1 billion in annual sales by 2020," said MedMen co-founder and chief executive Adam Bierman when the Treadwell deal was announced. "MedMen has built the best-in-class brand, and we continue to invest in premium assets that solidify our dominant position in the most important cannabis markets in the world."
In late June, a MedMen representative met with Orlando planners to discuss a dispensary at 5285 N. International Drive, currently a vacant Jared jewelry store. Company spokesman Daniel Yi declined to comment on specific locations the company is scouting, but told GrowthSpotter, "Where we put those 25 stores will be key to our strategy in Florida, and we want to put MedMen in high-visibility retail locations."
One of those locations is not likely to be in Lake County. Like the cities of Kissimmee and St. Cloud, Lake County has a moratorium on marijuana dispensaries.
"A lot of county governments are waiting on the state and the (Florida Department of Health) to come up with their guidelines, and until that happens, many governments have enacted a moratorium," said Lake County spokeswoman Tiffany Henderson.
Other cities, including Winter Garden, have outright banned dispensaries.
Nonetheless, the state has approved 95 dispensing locations around the state as of Feb. 1. The 180,030 patients with active ID cards have been prescribed 53 million milligrams of marijuana and 2.4 million milligrams of low-THC cannabis. The average medical marijuana dose is 372 milligrams per day.
There are now 2,023 qualified ordering physicians in Florida.