They say in unity lies real strength. With that in mind, the Florida Hemp Council was established to bring necessary resources to the Florida hemp industry and work together to overcome challenging times and remain sustainable.
The Mission of the Florida Hemp Council (FLHC) is to create a thriving ecosystem aimed at catapulting the Florida hemp industry to the forefront as leaders in hemp and hemp product production. We will represent all channels of the state’s economic engine, from farmers to retailers, and everyone in-between and help everyone stay connected to each other.
FLHC promotes the sound development for the emerging hemp industry.
FLHC members are privy to vibrant programs which enhance their professional growth.
We want to:
- Keep licensing fees low.
- Hold manufacturers to testing standards
- Make sure all consumer disclosures are on the label
- Promote continued research
- Help guide farmers so they are not taken advantage of for their land for by untrusted seed sellers.
- Promote Florida manufacturing state and local opportunities.
Chris Martinez Chairman
Chris Martinez is at the center of progress for the patient and consumer safety, providing cannabis testing and related services to physicians, research institutes, law enforcement agencies, farmers, processors, and manufacturers nationwide. He leads a diversified commercial laboratory, humanizing, streamlining, and automizing the process between data and diagnosis. As the largest full-service network of ISO accredited cannabis testing laboratories in the United States, Martinez, and his team have established the Gold Standard in testing with a reputation for accuracy, patient safety, method development, and validation, thus further advancing the course of modern cannabis medicine.
Martinez has a reputation for doing things differently and his vision is more expansive than just solving today’s testing problems. His foresight and ingenuity have moved him from a single laboratory to a new, high-functioning, multi-million-dollar business with 6 laboratories operating in seven states, setting on a course to advance modern cannabis medicine. While unparalleled analytics remain at the core of Kaycha Labs, his ultimate goal is to help patients and physicians change the way they medicate with cannabis while increasing patient outcomes.
Collecting data points on chemical profiles, plants, and human DNA structures can increase the standard of living for patients worldwide. Ultimately impacting a patient’s standard of living. Kaycha Labs’ full-service offering goes beyond the lab; our team and expertise are paving the way in multiple areas of cannabis medicine including collaborations with multiple universities and internship programs to develop the future workforce for the cannabis industry.
Martinez has obtained certifications in Medical Marijuana Law & Regulations and received his BS in Health Services Administration from Barry University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. Martinez is a former surgical device consultant where he focused on training and educating physicians on the latest technologies and innovations available for orthopedic surgery. A proven top performer in the medical industry managing advanced surgical device sales in excess of $4.3 million dollars, he brings extensive knowledge and expertise to navigate the complex research and development in the cannabis industry.
David Smith Vertical
Over an almost 40-year career, Mr. Smith has held various executive management positions in marketing, sales, operations, and business development. Prior to joining SanSal Wellness, for the past 7 years from 2011-2018, he was President of Inter-Continental Cigar Corporation, distributor of Al Capone Cigarillos, the #1 premium cigarillo in the U.S.
From 2008-2011, Dave was President of JDS Consumer Solutions. a Florida-based consumer & customer sales and marketing solutions provider. From 2006-2008, he was COO of Pantheon Chemical, an Arizona green chemical company. From 2002-2006, he was Sr. VP and then COO of FB Foods Inc., a Florida manufacturer of refrigerated meals
From 1989 to 2001, Mr. Smith was a director of fruit beverage giant Tropicana Products. During that time, he held various senior positions with Tropicana including Director Business Development-Asia Pacific from 1998-2001 (Hong Kong), Commercial Director from 1994-1996 (Taiwan), Director Channel Development-Grocery in 1993
(Florida), Director-National Accounts in 1992 (Florida), Southern Division Manager in 1991 (Florida), Region Manager from 1989-1990 (Alabama).
Smith also held key positions with other Fortune 500 companies, including Director-Sales & Marketing of The Seagram Company Ltd. from 1996-1998 and various management positions with The Gillette Company Safety Razor Division for over 8 years from 1981-
1989. He is a veteran of the US Navy (Seabees)
Bruce Vanaman Processor
As Vice President of Evello International, Bruce Vanaman is responsible for the development of technology and formulations, as well as the standard operating procedures associated with botanical oil extraction and processing.
Mr. Vanaman brings with him 15 years of knowledge and expertise in the cannabis industry. He has a very successful track record in the startup and expansion of multiple cannabis-related businesses and is proficient in all aspects of the cannabis industry from seed to sale. The knowledge Mr. Vanaman has accrued over the years has helped him play a pivotal role in the establishment of industry standards and uniformity.
In 2004, Mr. Vanaman began cultivating cannabis under Colorado’s Amendment 20, which effectively legalizes the cultivation and administration of limited amounts of medical marijuana for patients and their primary caregivers. The passing of this amendment helped him unrelentingly pursue justice, equality, and safe access to cannabis for patients who needed it.
In 2009, Mr. Vanaman founded Rocky Mountain Medicinal Cannabis, LLC. His primary role there was to develop and manage the cultivation of cannabis and oversee the extraction and processing of oils from cannabis.
Mr. Vanaman also has worked as an expert witness in legal cases whereby his testimony helped set legal precedence in multiple states. His wealth of expertise in the cultivation and regulatory processes related to industrial hemp has led to consulting work for the agricultural departments of numerous states, including but not limited to Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and California. He currently continues his work for some of these states as an advisor.
Mr. Vanaman has also assisted several states in the development of an oversight curriculum for their industrial hemp programs. Specifically, he has played an integral role in determining the viability and legality of industrial hemp cultivation and processing, as well as the importation of industrial hemp seed, which has helped to create uniformity in this burgeoning industry.
Arby Barroso Manufacturer
Arby Barroso was a born athlete and competitor, but his world changed when he blew out his hip and femur in a sporting injury at age 23. Doctors didn’t know how to help him for 28 excruciating days, during which he was on a cocktail of painkillers like morphine, Demerol, Percoset and more. He recovered but still relied heavily on these powerful pharmaceuticals. In 2001, his hip blew out again, right as he was in the middle of starting his own business and therefore did not have insurance. He spent 2009-2013 traveling between Miami and Colorado looking for a solution. That’s when a simple act of convenience led to his arrest. Arby kept all his medications in a single bottle for ease of travel, but he was surprised to learn, as many of would be, that this is illegal. He was put on five years’ probation, and this “rock bottom” made him realize he absolutely had to find an alternative.
That alternative appeared like a “Green Road” in the form of CBD, the non-psychoactive, healing part of cannabis plants. He approached Laura Fuentes, his longtime friend who had 20+ years of working in the traditional pharmaceutical world with the idea. Together they created CBD samples in the form of oil and topicals. The project started with these products going to friends, who found the creations useful for treating everything from eczema to neurological damage. Their work and grew, with Arby as the leading evangelist and influencer, into the leading set of CBD products on the market, with Forbes ranking Green Roads in its Top 10 list of CBD/hemp brands.
Bio coming soon.
Nutrition Formulators Inc.
Gabriel Suarez Retail
Gabriel Suarez is a remarkable professional and a tenacious entrepreneur. The founder and president of the Natural Life Corporation, Gabriel’s achievements in his industry have made him a pacesetter with significant contributions. A South American native, Gabriel started his career in the corporate world more than 13 years ago and owns over 6 businesses including a glass gallery, glassblowing studios, distribution center, smoke-shop, a chain of CBD wellness stores among others. His background with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University coupled with his experience as a business owner gives him a full understanding for aesthetics and puts him in the best position to design the most attractive and successful retail establishments.
A founding member of FL Hemp council and franchisor of Natural Life stores, Gabriel’s unique ability to build and maintain incredible working relationship sets him apart from those around him. Gabriel Suarez uses effective and efficient communication skills, attention to detail, time management and organization, always bringing his best self to the task with a positive attitude in order to get things done. An action-focused individual, Gabriel is a force in the retail industry.
On the off chance that he is not working, Gabriel loves flying wing–suits as a licensed skydiver. He also likes skateboarding and finds spending time with his wife and son most fulfilling. Motivated by the desire to become a global expert in his field, Gabriel is always on top of his game and strives to be the master of what he does.
To build strong communities, we must all fortify the root! This is Gabriel’s motivation towards working with Hemp industry professionals and supporters in achieving their full potential.
Natural Life Stores
Bio coming soon.
Mike Blume Professional
Bio coming soon.
Hussein Rakine At Large 1
Hussein Rakine is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Just CBD.
Mr. Rakine is an entrepreneur who owns 21 companies and brands, all within the smoke, vape and CBD industries.
He was early to recognize the numerous benefits and retail potential of CBD and launched Just CBD in early 2017, placing an emphasis on quality U.S.-grown ingredients, excellent customer service and transparency that includes published lab reports on every product.
Today, Just CBD is a recognized name in the industry, with revenues for 2019 projected at more than $50MM.
Prior to Just CBD, Mr. Rakine launched Speedy Distribution, one of the nation’s leading wholesalers of smoke and vape products, and World of Smoke & Vape, a chain of nine retail smoke and vape shops in Florida.
At the age of 16, Mr. Rakine created TapStrap, a self-wrapping strap used by weightlifters and sold at fitness stores nationwide.
Mr. Rakine earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University.
Earnie Blackmon / Jonathan Pirki At Large 2
Bio coming soon.
Brian Dickerson At Large 3
Brian Dickerson grew up in Naples, Florida and is the owner of Grassy Run Ranch, a cattle ranch, in Labelle, Florida. Mr. Dickerson is a partner with the law firm of FisherBroyles (22 offices nationwide), where he specializes in representing pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies and health care practices.
Additionally, Mr. Dickerson represents private label and OTC manufacturers related to the cannabis industry, and the ever-evolving state and federal regulatory landscape pertaining to the Federal Drug Administration and United States Department of Agriculture. Mr. Dickerson has utilized his legal knowledge with his experience and contacts within the ranching and farming communities to represent cultivators and processors in multiple states.
Mr. Dickerson is set to lead the Star Manufacturing team in Florida with the opening of a processing facility in Labelle, Florida, as of spring 2020.
Star Manufacturing Hemp