The Sunshine State Is Seeing Green: Gov. Ron DeSantis Approves Hemp Bill

As cannabis and it’s by-products become increasingly normalized across the U.S., the Sunshine State is beginning to see green.

As of last week, The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is wrapping up the final steps towards a legal hemp industry. Governor Ron DeSantis officially signed 15 bills, including legislation authorizing a state-run hemp program. The bill, sponsored by Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, creates a program that will regulate the cultivation of hemp by addressing issues such as the licensing of growers and locations where hemp could be cultivated. Hemp, while it is a type of cannabis, does not have enough THC to make a person high. 

Notably, agricultural aid has been getting more attention at the since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill’s legalization of industrial hemp as an agricultural product. Thus, according to the News Service of Florida, reasons for the new bill likely relate to potential business boom from hemp’s usage ability in numerous products. 

While some are still skeptical of what the results of this passage will bring, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has strong hope that Florida’s acceptance of hemp will be the push that the state’s farm sector and rural areas have long needed. “Tonight’s hemp bill signing marks a transformation in Florida, and a critical step on a journey to creating a green industrial revolution, strengthening agriculture with an alternative crop of the future and expanding access to safe, quality CBD products,” she expressed in a statement, according to FLAPOL. 

However, while her department is moving as quickly as possible to get plants in the ground by late fall of this year, the USDA will not be approving any plans just yet, as they are still creating plans for each state’s industrial hemp industry. But with unanimous bipartisan support, Fried’s hopes are high for Florida to move forward planting crops within the year.

Emerald contributor since June 2019

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