When Patrick DeLuca was looking for life after radio, he didn’t expect to find it in medical cannabis.
After a 15-year career in broadcast radio, he finds himself on the front lines of a medical revolution, as the executive director of the largest medical cannabis clinic in the state of Florida.
DeLuca acknowledges that he brings no medical or health care experience to the table, but that is left to Dr. Barry Gordon.
That doesn’t diminish what DeLuca brings to the table on the topic, especially from the view of a card-carrying medical cannabis user. Diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he self-medicated for years. “While I’ve used since high school, I’ve come to realize that the reasons for use actually were because of the medicinal benefit the plant provides to me,” he shared.
“Cannabis has helped me flourish in my career and has provided me the ability to function for years without having to take pharmaceuticals. Since becoming a legal Florida patient, I was able to completely taper off of Xanax for which I had taken for the past five years,” he continued. “My role now is an extension of what I was doing on radio. I am now more actively advocating for patients – rather than passively.”
DeLuca has built a career around advocating for the underdog.
In 2014, his strategic marketing firm Double D Media and the DSN internet radio network won a landmark legal victory against a former employer who tried to deter continuation of his radio show through enforcement of a non-compete clause.
A Stark County (Ohio) Common Pleas judge ruled in favor of DeLuca and DSN.
Leaving Ohio and relocating to North Port, Florida in September 2015, DeLuca reunited with Dr. Barry Gordon, who had been a frequent guest on his radio show. After handling all the marketing and branding efforts for Gordon’s other practice, Physicians Advanced Laser Center, DeLuca convinced Dr. Barry, as he is affectionately known, that it was time to move forward with a cannabis treatment clinic.
DeLuca oversees the entire operation of the Compassionate Cannabis Clinic (CCC) in Venice, including human resources, accounting, general operation, legal compliance, advocacy efforts, media and public outreach, marketing and promotion. He also has developed patient protocols and procedures, which have become the model of practice in this state.
He has quickly become the leading patient advocate in the state of Florida with more of his efforts being recognized nationwide. “Through every twist and turn of the 2017 legislative session, I kept tabs on what was happening,” DeLuca noted.
Whether it was reading laws, writing blogs or attending public meetings, DeLuca has advocated for those many patients that have come through the doors since medical marijuana became legal in Florida on Jan. 3, even routinely advising physicians, nurses and practice manages across the state.
“Dr. Barry handles the patient care and medical questions, while I oversee the business side and outreach efforts. It is my job to make sure that we are in compliance,” he continued.
DeLuca’s media experience as well as his thirst for knowledge regarding medical cannabis has made him a favorite among those seeking answers.
Statewide, in excess of 27,000 patients have registered to receive treatments in Florida. “Every day we’re hearing from patients who are getting their medicine and the response we’re hearing from patients is incredible,” DeLuca added.
“If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have told you that you are crazy if you think I’m tackling this; however, the work is extremely gratifying. My life has prepared me for this, and it is an incredible thing. Every day I find myself using my other skills to do this,” DeLuca concluded.
“People come to us who are unhappy with conventional medicine. It’s not easy to operate such a practice, and this is an unnecessarily complicated way for people to find relief.”