industrial hemp

Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Florida’s Director of Cannabis thinks 2020 could be the state’s first “great grow year” for hemp. A bill launching a state hemp program is waiting for ink from the governor’s pen. Experts in the state and elsewhere have been weighing in this week on an industry that will be a new frontier in the Sunshine State.

Hemp Florida
Eric Risberg / AP

A state Senate panel approved a proposed bill that would legalize hemp products.

Bryan Woolston / AP Photo

While low-THC cannabis or hemp is available in stores, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says it’s not legal …. Yet. Legislation proposed in both Chambers would change that. Tuesday the House bill passed its second committee.

A field of hemp plants
P. Solomon Banda / AP Photo

A measure establishing a state hemp industry received critical backing from the state Senate Agriculture Committee Monday.

hemp florida
Don Ryan / AP

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

Hemp Farming Could Soon Be Legal In Florida

Feb 15, 2019
A field of hemp plants
P. Solomon Banda / AP Photo

Lawmakers are considering legislation to recognize and regulate the hemp industry. 

A field of hemp plants
P. Solomon Banda / AP Photo

As Florida lawmakers grapple with changes to the state’s medical marijuana rules, others are questioning how hemp fits into the picture. Hemp is a marijuana plant, but is low in THC—meaning it doesn’t get people high. Instead, people say the CBD from the plant can have significant health benefits. But the two products come plants that look and smell the same—making regulation and enforcement difficult and leaving hemp use and sales in something of a legal grey area.

Listen below as cannabis legal expert Michael Minardi and Alex Petrick who manages Natural Life, a shop in Tallahassee that sells CBD products speak on the subject.

Florida Department of Agriculture

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is tapping Nashville hemp consultant Holly Bell for the department’s cannabis director. Bell was instrumental in getting Tennessee’s hemp industry off the ground, and Fried hopes Bell can do the same in Florida.

“The economic impact for our state is enormous. [The] medical marijuana industry alone is projected to have a $1.6 billion economics, creating more jobs in manufacturing by 2020. Hemp can be a multi-billion-dollar industry here in the state,” said Fried.

themissouritimes.com

With a new administration in charge, full implementation of Florida’s 2-year old medical marijuana amendment now seems more likely. Meanwhile, supporters of industrial and medical hemp – marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousin – are also hopeful.

ball of hemp twine
Emilian Robert Vicol

Across the country, advocates are hailing industrial hemp as a miracle crop. Some Floridians even think the plant could surpass oranges as an agricultural powerhouse. But lawmakers in the capitol are urging caution.