FAMU Moves Forward On Industrial Hemp Research As State Legalization Nears

Mar 7, 2019

Hemp is gaining inroads in Florida following national decriminalization. Now Florida A&M University is trying to get ahead of the burgeoning market.

Credit Don Ryan / AP

FAMU is partnering with three companies to explore industrial hemp and its commercial viability.  It wants to sign deals with Sunshine Hemp, Green Earth Cannaceuticals and Future Farm Technologies. Both FAMU and the University of Florida received state authorization in 2017 to grow hemp prior to congress decriminalizing the plant last year.  

The University of Florida plans to begin growin the plant at a facility in Gadsden County within the next few months. 

FAMU Trustee Harold Mills says the school should try and get equity in those companies in order to, "ensure we have economic opportunity throughout the life of this process.”

He says having equity will ensure the univeristy will still benefit if the company is sold, as is happening across the marijuana industry. 

The Florida legislature is considering a measure to decriminalize hemp at the state level following congressional actions. Hemp is also being floated as a potential replacement for timber farmers who lost more than a billion dollars worth of crops following Hurricane Michael. 

FAMU's plan calls for the school to situate its hemp research either at its Brooksville campus in Central Florida, or in Gadsden County.