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North of Orlando in the Apopka, and Eustis area, are hundreds of nurseries. Some of these nurseries are sprawling greenhouses, others small mom and pop, a few boarded up after tough times possibly awaiting new owners. The focus of growing in this agricultural community ranges from perennials and annuals to evergreen house plants and ornamentals.  Most of the families operating these country nurseries have lived in the area for years, they all know each other, and their sons and daughters have worked the family business for decades.

Driving up from Palm Bay I am now on a winding country road, passing a mother and daughter operated fruit and honey stand, over a small hill, and there is Treadwell Nursery. Treadwell Nursery, a family owned and operated nursey has been operating for over 40 years. Pulling into the dirt and gravel lane I see Glen Treadwell standing out front of a new processing building, smile on his face, waving us over to a parking area.  Parking the truck we entered the air conditioned building, and were welcomed by Sharon Treadwell, daughter Jammie who is leading the operation, Jenny responsible for legal compliance, and Dr. Genester S. Wilson-King of Mt. Dora who is the medical director. Daughter Julie Treadwell along with partners Tom and June Simpson were not present.
In the center of the building was a table and several chairs. We exchanged greetings, and then Glen covered the estate floor plan showing me the cannabis vegetative and flowering greenhouses, curing room, extraction unit, and shipping and receiving area.  Opening one of five rollup doors we entered the first greenhouse.  It was like stepping through heaven’s gate it was so bright and illuminated. The greenhouses consist of painted white cinder blocks walls, white weed mating, and a fine white micron covering over the top, which prevents pests from entering the area.  Everything was white.  Chillers between each greenhouse cool down the water, which slowly drips over one of the corrugated walls.  Large fans draw air from between the greenhouses, which travel through the wet drip walls, keeping each greenhouse at an even temperature. In the center of the first greenhouse were six empty black plastic seven gallon containers. No plants.
The Treadwell family built out the complexes with an expectation that the Office of Compassionate Use would inspect each facility. The Office of Compassionate Use application fee was $60,000 dollars, and if a grower submitted for multiple zones they had to pay an additional application fee. All together the Office of Compassionate Use collected approximately $1.6 million dollars. The Florida Economic Review Council developed an analysis that showed with over 1,000 cultivation centers and dispensaries $2.7 million would be required to sustain Florida’s cannabis program. The Office of Compassionate Use collected nearly two million dollars, and only five growers would be in the program. There was more than enough revenue to cover additional Department of Health staff and inspect each grower facility.
An Office of Compassionate Use nursery inspection would have determined who is really ready, financially committed, and can deliver the processed oil within the stated timeframe. The Office of Compassionate Use did not inspect the greenhouses of each applicant. Licenses were awarded based solely on a difficult to understand grading scale. Three staff members read through the applications, and solely on those applications graded each applicant. Treadwell nursey was informed they did not receive a license. Disappointing.  Instead, Knox nursery won the central region, but according to the Office of Compassionate Use web site Knox still has not received a cultivation authorization. The question begs why Knox was awarded a license, yet after five months still have not received authorization to grow. Treadwell Nursery is built out and ready to go.
Absence of a license is not stopping the Treadwell family from moving forward. Their team is still intact, greenhouses ready to receive plants, and their lawyers are continuing to move forward. I witnessed for myself the greenhouses are in place, and ready to receive plants. The Treadwells were very open allowing me to view their dispensary design, operations process flow, and freely ask questions. They are not waiting to see what happens with Amendment Two, and deciding whether or not to grow cannabis. They are ready now to produce medicinal CDB oil as evidenced by their build out investment.

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Photos of Treadwell Nursery taken by Bill Monroe 

Upon leaving Glen Treadwell presented me with a couple of nursery plants, and wished me a safe journey home.  I couldn’t help thinking that the Treadwell’s represent the ideal grower the Office of Compassionate Use would award a license to. They are local, Florida natives, family owned, spent thousands preparing for a license, have not compromised their principals, traveled to Israel to witness their cannabis program, and have a strong desire to keep the medicinal in medicinal marijuana.

Exiting the long dirt and gravel road, I looked in the rear view mirror. Glen was still standing out front surveying his pride and joy.  I wish the Treadwell’s the best in their quest for a license.