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Lakeland flower nursery will be converted for marijuana cultivation

Surterra Wellness will grow and cultivate medical marijuana at the former Sunshine Growers nursery is at 3516 Hamilton Road in Lakeland.
Surterra Wellness will grow and cultivate medical marijuana at the former Sunshine Growers nursery is at 3516 Hamilton Road in Lakeland. (Polk County Property Appraiser)

Another major marijuana cultivator will have a production presence in central Florida, with Surterra Wellness acquiring a Lakeland nursery to serve its 22 dispensaries around the state.

Atlanta-based Surterra, which describes itself as one of the largest U.S. providers of medical, wellness and lifestyle cannabis products, bought Sunshine Growers at 3516 Hamilton Road for $3.3 million, according to records filed earlier this month in Polk County.

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The deal comes on the heels of a California-based pot provider, MedMen Enterprises, filing plans for a 10-acre nursery in unincorporated Eustis in Lake County. GrowHealthy Holdings, meanwhile, operates a 200,000-square-foot hydroponic nursery in Lake Wales.

"Surterra Wellness has been operating cultivation sites, distribution centers and retail Surterra Wellness Centers across Florida since our licensure in 2015, which includes an existing Wellness Center in Lakeland," said spokeswoman Kim Hawkes in a statement to GrowthSpotter. "We are in the process of acquiring Sunshine Growers, an existing agricultural site in Lakeland, and are awaiting approval by the appropriate regulatory offices. When approvals are finalized in the coming weeks, we look forward to partnering with the local community and will be in a position to provide official comment."

Sunshine Growers was founded in 1986, providing poinsettias, vegetables and other flowers. It is just minutes from the Polk/Hillsborough county line; six of Surterra's 22 Florida wellness centers are in the Tampa Bay area.

In central Florida, the company has stores in Deltona, Lakeland, Ocala and Orlando, where it offers a wide variety of products in multiple delivery options including vaporizer pens, tinctures, oral sprays, topical creams, time released transdermal patches, and soon-to-be-launched softgels.

Last summer, Surterra closed a $65 million round of fundraising led by Wychwood Asset Management, the direct investment arm of William "Beau" Wrigley Jr. The one-time head of the Wrigley chewing gum empire is now chief executive officer at Surterra and chairman its board of directors.

When the fundraising campaign closed, Surterra said it would be increasing its cultivation space in Florida, carrying out clinical trials on cannabis treatment and improving product development.

The company said it has about 300,000 square feet of cultivation throughout Florida and was looking to increase that to 500,000 by mid-2019. That's nearly nine football fields of pot cultivation in the state by the single company.

Surterra provides services to over 70 million residents of Florida, Texas, Nevada and Massachusetts. It had 550 employees at the end of 2018, up from 100 at the beginning of the year.

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.

Surterra is one of 13 licensed providers in Florida.

The state has approved 103 dispensing locations around the state as of Feb. 22. There are 188,240 patients with active ID cards who have been prescribed 58.9 million milligrams of marijuana and 2.6 million milligrams of low-THC cannabis. There are now 2,082 qualified ordering physicians in Florida.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at Newsroom@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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