Ballard Partners the latest lobbying firm to join the “green rush”

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Lobbying firm Ballard Partners has joined the “green rush,” signing two clients with interest in Florida’s burgeoning medicinal marijuana industry. Good Chemistry of Denver and Keith St. Germain Nursery of Homestead popped up on Ballard’s list of clients Wednesday on the state’s lobbying registration listing.

Ballard Partners reported more than $1 million in earnings for the first quarter of 2014 and generally ranks among the top earners of the lobbying corps. With 17 lobbyists, the firm often seems omnipresent in the halls of the Capitol.

The media has yet to decide how to describe the nation’s growing legal marijuana industry but the general consensus is there is a lot of money to be made from marijuana. The ArcView Group of San Francisco forecasts a 64 percent surge in the legal cannabis market to $2.34 billion by the end of this year. The Florida market is expected to exceed $700 million.

“It’s an exciting new frontier,” said Tallahassee lobbyist Jeff Sharkley.

A CNBC analysis refers to a “Wild West-like landscape of marijuana opportunities” others akin it to a “gold rush,” or a  “green rush.”

However you describe the change in marijuana policy that is occurring, Good Chemistry of Denver has been on the front line.  Open in 2010 by Matt Huron in a Denver storefront, Good Chemistry is both a recreational and 21+ medical supplier. It has two dispensaries in Denver where the plant is cultivated and dispensed by “budtenders.”

Good Chemistry also supplies 25 other Denver dispensaries with its Mountain Medicine products and has recently expanded to Wooster, Massachusetts.  The company has 26 employees and grows more than 60 strains of marijuana.

In Denver, Good Chemistry prices its products at $8 a gram and $25 for an eighth.  A 2011 review of one of its medical dispensary can be read here,

Keith St. Germain Nursery organized in 1982 and meets the qualifications outlined in SB 1030 to apply for one of the 5 Charlotte’s Web licenses lawmakers authorized.

St. Germain is a member of the Dade County Farm Bureau’s Farm Family of the Year for 2014.

Keith’s father Kenneth St. Germain started the St. Germain Dracaena Farms in 1975 and his son has also built a Homestead nursery. A niece, Kathy, and her husband have built another nursery, Whalen Farms.

“The passion for plants in this industry that this family hold is something remarkable,” Kathy Whalen told the Cutler Bay News. “The old saying ‘born with a green thumb’ has a whole new meaning when you hear the family name, St. Germain.

As for Ballard Partners interest in Florida’s “green rush,” the normally outspoken name partner Brian Ballard said, “We anticipate representing several qualified nurseries as well as other relevant parties.”