New Port Richey cannabis laws are archaic, says Hudson hemp entrepreneur | News

HUDSON – In what looks like part abandoned strip mall and part industrial storage space in Hudson, Cannapalooza Nursery runs a vertical business that takes hemp from seeds to soap. And full-spectrum oils, creams, ointments and gummies.

“Before 1937, the No. 1 analgesic (in the US) was cannabis,” Rudi Fiordilini told Suncoast News. He said that he and his business partner, Marlon Santiago, want to return the plant to its original condition.

That led them, with the legalization of hemp farming in Florida in 2019, to found Cannapalooza Nursery and become licensed hemp growers.

“I know how to grow cannabis well,” Fiordilini said. “I was arrested. It’s not a secret.”

With the legalization of hemp growing, however, he made sure that Cannapalooza Nursery complied with state laws. Which means its products don’t contain more than the legal limit of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Many, but not all, of its products contain CBD (cannabidiol), which is “harmless, meaning it doesn’t cause a ‘high,'” the Centers for Disease Control says on its website.

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At first, Fiordilini said, he and his partner thought they would grow “all kinds of flowers” and sell them, but when that didn’t work out, they decided to build a “vertical” company, meaning that they control all aspects of their product from seedlings to marketing.

Noting that hemp is a hardy, drought-resistant plant that consumes few resources to grow, Cannapalooza Nursery categorizes itself, as stated on its website, as wanting to “help the community to build low-maintenance and re-generative gardens that sustain and nurture. for people and our planet. We provide the necessary knowledge and tools to encourage people to incorporate CBD into their life to promote a healthy lifestyle.

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The business contracts with trusted producers to transform cannabis products into body butters, pet drops and sleeping gummies. It also sells flowers, wholesale and retail.

The business, however, is blocked by the city of New Port Richey, which prohibits the sale of CBD within city limits, although, Fiordilini said, at least three places sell or distribute it. products that operate in the city with apparent impunity.

“I’m not trying to shut them down,” he said. “I say it should be open to everyone.”

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“They’re confusing CBD with medical marijuana,” he said. “It’s not the same.”

In October, Fiordilini, at a meeting of the New Port Richey City Council, complained that his booth was targeted by code enforcement at the Cotee River Bike Fest.

“They told us we couldn’t sell products with CBD,” he said. “So we removed all our CBD products from our booth. But that wasn’t good enough. They told us that not only did we have to leave, but the city would shut down the entire festival without us.

They left, but Cannapalooza Nursery, he said, is still on a mission to promote what he says is a natural, ecologically sound plant that benefits many and no one.

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