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A Conversation with the Medical Director at Surterra Wellness

Photo Credit: Surterra Wellness


There are now more than 200,000 people in Florida who have received their Medical Marijuana Registry identification cards, and about 10,000 new patients are signing up every week. The state currently has 14 license holders, and that number is set to grow as state regulators approved licenses for eight more firms. As of April of this year, there were 85 dispensaries across the state, but the current number is higher because new dispensaries are being opened every week across the state.

We’re joined by the medical director for one of the state’s largest license holders, Surterra Wellness. It currently operates 23 of what it calls Wellness Centers in Florida. And, it has a presence in Texas and Nevada, and will soon be in Massachusetts.

A Conversation with the Medical Director at Surterra Wellness

Dr. Nicholas Bottaro completed a dual bachelors degree in biochemistry and cellular physiology from Fairfield University and Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. He then continued his education at Duke University and Lake Erie College of Medicine, graduating with dual degrees in a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine and a Master's in Healthcare Administration, later finishing a Master's in Business Administration and a Master's of Public Health. He’s also a practicing ophthalmologist. We sat down with him to find out how he wound up in the world of medical cannabis, and where he sees the industry going.


And, back in May a group of Florida Gulf Coast University faculty and students, and people interested in the world of medical cannabis, took a bus up to Surterra Wellness’s grow operation in Hillsborough County. The university is now offering a Cannabis Focus of Study under the Integrated Studies Program. And, it has twice conducted 5-day intensive Cannabis Professional Certificate Program workshops for people who want to increase their understanding of cannabis and its effects, the cannabis industry, and the environment in which it operates.


A Conversation with the Medical Director at Surterra Wellness

Upon arrival the group was greeted by Surterra staff, and then led on a tour of the nearly 300-thousand square foot facility by Josh Reed, he is Vice President of Production at Surterra Wellness.


Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Julie Glenn is the News Director and the host of Gulf Coast Live. She joined the WGCU team in November of 2016 to expand the Gulf Coast Live call-in radio show from once a week to five days a week. Since then, the show has been recognized in state and regional competitions and has featured artists, political leaders, historians, environmental experts, doctors, local reporters, and national and international scholars. After leading the station's award-winning coverage of Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, Julie was named Interim News Director. In January of 2018, she launched WGCU's first podcast: Grape Minds.