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Massachusetts marijuana dispensary is targeting Apopka for expansion plans into Florida

Medicinal marijuana smokable flower at the Curaleaf dispensary in Orlando. Photo taken March 25, 2019.
Medicinal marijuana smokable flower at the Curaleaf dispensary in Orlando. Photo taken March 25, 2019. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

Massachusetts-based marijuana dispensary Sanctuary Medicinals is moving forward with plans to enter Florida’s flourishing medical marijuana market.

According to a recently submitted permit application in the St. Johns River Water Management District, the owners of a nearly 18-acre nursery at 251 E Keene Rd. are seeking environmental permits to allow for the construction of a 40,167-square-foot cannabis cultivation and processing facility that will be operated by Sanctuary Medicinals.

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The company currently manages five cannabis locations in Massachusetts (Danvers, Gardner, Woburn) and New Hampshire (Plymouth, Conway), and each location is supported by one of its cultivation facilities in Littleton, Massachusetts and Rochester, New Hampshire.

A cultivation facility in Florida, could support a number of its retail dispensaries throughout the state, which legalized smokable medical marijuana for Florida patients in 2016, and just recently released rules for edibles in late August of this year.

Conceptual plans show the owners of the nearly 18-acre nursery at 251 E Keene Rd. want to redevelop the site to feature a 40,167-square-foot cannabis cultivation and processing facility that will be operated by Sanctuary Medicinals.
Conceptual plans show the owners of the nearly 18-acre nursery at 251 E Keene Rd. want to redevelop the site to feature a 40,167-square-foot cannabis cultivation and processing facility that will be operated by Sanctuary Medicinals. (Orange County Property Appraiser/SJRWMD)

According to its website, Sanctuary Medicinals’ retail sites provide a variety of options to patients, including flowers, oils and various edible choices.

Earlier this year, an entity tied to the company purchased the medical marijuana business license owned by the family operation that founded Dewar Nurseries Inc., and currently owns the Apopka property.

In August, a 28.6-acre cultivating site in Mount Dora sold for $14 million to GreenAcreage Real Estate Corp., which then entered into a lease agreement with cannabis operator Curaleaf. At the time, Curaleaf opened its 29th retail location in the state at Clearwater. It now has 33 dispensing locations throughout Florida, according to Florida’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use.

Now that selling edibles is an option in Florida, dispensaries could tap into what many experts say could be a multi-hundred-million dollar market in the state by the end of next year, because it caters to patients who prefer non-inhalation options.

According to a recent Marijuana Business Factbook projection, Florida medical marijuana (MMJ) revenues will total $950 million to $1.2 billion in 2021, but those projections do not take into account edibles sales, according to Marijuana Business Daily.

That means if edibles account for 20% of the total MMJ market in Florida, then edible sales could reach approximately $240 million in 2021 for the first full year of business.

Insight on how this LA-based medical marijuana player gained a foothold in Florida, and the local submarkets it is exploring.

Over the past 12 months, the state has seen an increase in registered patients and number of dispensaries.

As of Dec. 4, there were nearly 447,400 qualified patients with an active ID card in the state, according to the state health department’s weekly updates. That figure jumped more than 53% from about 291,245 patients recorded by the state around the same time last year.

In addition to patient growth, the number of dispensaries has increased 38% from 213 at the first of the year to 294 as of Dec. 4.

Setting up a cannabis cultivation and processing facility in Apopka, could support new retail dispensaries across Central Florida.

Sanctuary Medicinals CEO Jason Sidman did not return a call requesting comment.

Apopka planner and project manager Bobby Howell told GrowthSpotter the city has received a development plan for review for the proposed cultivation and processing building, but plans are still being processed for sufficiency, he said.

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Sam Sebaali, president and CEO of Florida Engineering Group, is the civil engineer.

The location being eyed by Sanctuary, is located about three miles east from the intersection of Ocoee-Apopka Road and Daniel Webster Western Beltway (SR 429), which stretches all along metro Orlando’s western edge.

Close by, DHI Communities, a wholly owned subsidiary of D.R. Horton, is beginning to prep about 26 acres at 2901 Ocoee Apopka Rd. for multifamily development. Plans call for a 240-unit complex near the AdventHealth Apopka hospital, built in 2017.

And Ohio-based NM Residential is teaming up with Maitland-based Nvision Development to develop a 264-unit multifamily community called Summer House, located on the northeast corner of the S.R. 451 and S.R. 414 interchange, south of Ocoee Apopka Road.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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