In the Know: Growing number of Cannabis options on Bonita ‘Buzz’ Road; more Jersey Mike’s coming

Growing number of Cannabis options on Bonita ‘Buzz’ Road and within a Reefer…

In the Know: Growing number of Cannabis options on Bonita 'Buzz' Road; more Jersey Mike's coming 1
In the Know: Growing number of Cannabis options on Bonita 'Buzz' Road; more Jersey Mike's coming 2

Bonita Beach Road?

Nah.

Bonita Buzz Road, part of a five-mile or so Cannabis corridor where now about 10 medical marijuana dealers have set up shop.

The latest sprouted two weeks ago at 28500 Bonita Crossing, just past Pinchers on north U.S. 41 on your right as you approach Bonita Beach Road, but before the McDonald’s. Taco Bell’s pretty much across the street. Might could come in handy later.

Housed in a former rug store, One Plant Florida is where “qualified patients” can get a Magic Carpet Ride to treat what ails you.

Among the offerings of rare strains of cannabis and pre-rolls: Dirty Lemons, Fish Whistle, Apple Fritter, Marshmallow OG, Watermelon Gushers and the Blueberry Muffin flower, one of the most popular at $15 a gram. Or how about a one-gram London Pound Cake doobie for $8.50, the best quick-hit deal in the house that’ll leave some spare change for that burrito afterward?

“We’ve carefully selected our retail sites to promote speedy delivery, and we look forward to further expanding our home delivery and curbside pickup,” said Brady Cobb, CEO of Bluma Wellness and its subsidiary, One Plant. The goal is “allowing us to provide our patients with convenient access to premium flower in Lee County and the surrounding Naples area.”

No kidding about the Naples area, and certainly, carefully selected. It’s almost right at the county line, about 2,000 feet away. Right now, Cobb can’t open any further south into Collier, which hasn’t been as welcoming to the bud businesses and a whiff of the up to $19 billion-a-year industry. Well, at least the government types refuse to inhale.

Hence, the joints blend into the landscape of Lee County’s rapidly blossoming Reefer Triangle that’s a scalene or perhaps a bit obtuse shape and roughly bordered by Old and “New” 41 and Bonita Beach Road, where you can score much of the ganja.

“I cannot speak to how others will survive in a tightly grouped area, but we stand behind our mission statement that our cannabis is grown, not made,” Cobb said. “We care less about shiny packaging. We care more about having the highest quality cannabis products.”

That approach seems to be working for Cobb and his now eight locales, based on stats from the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use or the slowly uttered, OMMU. Yeah, our state has one of those.

“Per the OMMU data that comes out every week, we operate the second most voluminous stores on an ounces sold per store basis,” said Cobb, whose eight employees are typically seeing about 90 visitors a day in Bonita.

Overall in Florida, consumers legally purchased 62,131 ounces alone of the stuff to smoke in the week that ended Thursday, half of it from Trulieve, which has four fronts in Lee County including Bonita Beach Road. Curaleaf, also on the same road and in Fort Myers, finished second.

More of In the Know:

The legalization of weed

Customers must have a medical marijuana card to procure products, but the other reality is that these organizations are also positioning themselves for the future as companies like Bluma look to expand nationally.

With New York legalizing weed Wednesday, the same day New Mexico’s Legislature approved it, Politico found that more than 1 in 3 Americans live in states where marijuana is fully legal.

Considering the governor and Legislature instead working on more restrictions this year related to pot, it’s not clear if this state would move to legalize it unless there’s a change from those who have been in charge the past two decades.

A poll last month by Florida for Care did find 59% percent of the residents back recreational legalization, similar to what previous studies have concluded. Nationally, Gallup data has it at more than 66%.

The cannabis industry currently employs nearly 250,000 full time employees, more than four times the number of coal workers in the country, according to Forbes magazine.

Whether right or wrong, it appears we’ve come a long way from when cartels of inhabitants and saltwater cowboys in Everglades City and sometimes a politician would seemingly get busted every few years or so in massive trafficking operations. During one three-year multiagency undercover operation, the feds say they arrested nearly 80 percent of the adult male population of the town.

The formerly empty roads of Golden Gate and Cape Coral and wide open country fields of LaBelle and Clewiston also served as perfect runways for smugglers who included an actual Hendry County sheriff along the way. I was a high school freshman with no car when my campus suddenly emptied of upperclassmen after reports of bushels floating ashore at the beach, cargo dumped by a fleeing plane during an air chase.

Cobb, who knows a little about that kind of history, now farms it in Martin County to sell it in the broad daylight of Bonita.

His dad, C.W. “Bill” Cobb, worked for Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and then served 27 months in prison after helping smuggle $300 million worth of pot into the U.S.

Late in life, the elder Cobb quietly went back to marijuana as he battled cancer that targeted his bones.

“I actually got to see firsthand how cannabis really helped him deal with the cancer treatments,” the son said of his father, who passed away in 2010.

That sparked a new mission but fortunately not as dangerous as his daddy’s:

“To destigmatize this amazing plant we get to grow.”

Jersey Mike’s subs and some math

Frank Scott checked in last week with the latest inquiry similar to others I’ve received:

“Phil, I am an old retired developer living in Olde Naples and read your column to stay informed. I was wondering if you could help me with some information? Is there ever going to be a Jersey Mike’s in Naples?”

Thank you for reading, Frank. And dude, you’re not old. This is Florida. All hail the regenerative powers of the sun.

Great timing on your question because my colleague Andrew Atkins was chatting with the chain’s founder and CEO Peter Cancro, who was hanging out Wednesday at his Immokalee Road outpost, the furthest south location here on this side of the Peninsula.

We go right to the source. Yeah, we don’t mess around here at the old Naples Daily News. Yes, in this case, old. Or maybe vintage, publishing since July 25,1923, the same year of Collier County’s founding, carved out of Lee County two months earlier.

Cancro, who has had an oceanfront pad on that other coast at the end of Alligator Alley, said to expect up to three to four more Naples sub shops within the next year or two.

I had hoped to push Cancro’s proficient prolocutor Kyle Potvin to sprinkle on a little more cheddar. He got slightly more specific.

“I can confirm that we are hoping to open three new restaurants in Naples in the next year,” Potvin told me. “The locations are still to be finalized.”

Estero is about to give birth to one in June inside Suite 302 at 19521 Highland Oaks Drive, a new plaza off Everblades Parkway, about 1,580 feet from Hertz Arena, Potvin said.

My math calculators suggest that’s 632 steps away or a 6-minute walk in the extremely unlikely event that you convinced an usher to let you leave and return during those sometimes tedious 18-minute hockey intermissions. And because you can’t bring your Big Kahuna order inside the rink, you’d have to eat it as you hustled back, which most certainly would mean dripping “The Juice” all over your polo.


In his weekly restaurant column, Atkins plans to have more on Jersey Mike’s and its recent annual Day of Giving during which franchises donate 100% of all purchases to charity. Not just the profit, but every single dollar in sales.

A man of many talents, Atkins is also hosting the year’s first Florida Storytellers Project that this newspaper sponsors at 7 p.m. Thursday. It is digital this time around and can be viewed on the Facebook pages of the Naples Daily News and the News-Press and other platforms.

Based at the Naples Daily News, Columnist Phil Fernandez (pfernandez@gannett.com) writes In the Know as part of the USA TODAY NETWORK, which supplemented this report. Support Democracy and subscribe to a newspaper.

In the Know: Growing number of Cannabis options on Bonita 'Buzz' Road; more Jersey Mike's coming 3

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