When Pensacola-natives Frank DeRise and Blake Hammac opened their new novelty-business, Legal Leaf, they had one thing in mind: making legal THC products more available for those who couldn’t or preferred not to get it from a traditional medical dispensary.
Located at 503 North Navy Blvd, Legal Leaf features hemp products that were deemed federally legal by the 2018 Farm Bill. Legal Leaf has a focus on providing the community with a naturally occurring cannabinoid called Delta-8 THC. This psychoactive chemical differs from its relative, Delta-9 THC, which is what consumers are more familiar with through most medical marjiuana products. Although, Delta-8 THC produces effects similar to traditional THC, these results are considered mild in comparison to equivalent concentrations of Delta-9 THC.
Unlike medical marijuana, the consumer is not required to have a medical card for any products found at Legal Leaf. DeRise and Hammac emphasize that this is a product that can help those in the community who may suffer from medical issues, pain, or anxiety. For those that may not have the resources to access medical marijuana, Legal Leaf provides a legal alternative to access THC products.
Hammac explained, “We opened the business because we feel there is a need for this product in Pensacola. There’s a lot of people who could be helped by having access to THC.” DeRise agreed, stating “There is an unseen cap on the medical marijuana side for Florida. It’s expensive to acquire a medical card. Not everyone can afford that especially with drug prices the way they are.”
In addition to being more readily available than medical marijuauna competitors, Legal Leaf also provides a greater variety of forms of consumption. Products range from concentrates to edibles, but also include nontraditional varieties, such as a can of THC infused soda. The most popular products are reportedly the standard flower, with edibles a close second. The business uses vendors for all of the products and does not currently participate in the manufacturing process.
As for the future of Legal Leaf, the owners are excited to expand into a second location off of Cervantes within the next 30 days. Not only are they going to have two locations within 60 days of opening, but they also plan to expand into a mobile vending operation that the owners referred to as a “Cannabus.” Both DeRise and Hammac dream of potentially expanding this independant LLC into a multi-state franchise. With the growth they have already seen at their first location, this dream appears close to becoming a reality.