hemp

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says hemp farming in the Panhandle could bring relief from the billion and a half dollar hit to the region’s timber industry. She joined WFSU’s special Perspectives program this week, broadcast from Mexico Beach, on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael that left millions of acres damaged.

hemp vs marijuana
Image by TechPhotoGal on Pixabay

Now that smoking hemp is legal across Florida, it's causing problems for local governments who want to prohibit smoking illegal marijuana. 

Gerard Albert III / WLRN

Leaders of the hemp industry in Florida came together in Pompano Beach Thursday, for the first stop on a statewide tour aimed at educating the community on new business developments.

New Hemp Industry Buoyed By CBD Demand

Jul 29, 2019

Hemp has been hyped as a lifesaver for Florida farmers, touted as a versatile crop that can be used to build houses, feed livestock and create clothing. 

State officials have heralded hemp as a new wonder crop.  But the plant’s recent legalization is complicating efforts to prosecute marijuana-related charges, and has left police and prosecutors alike scrambling for a solution.

Joe Cavaretta / South Florida Sun Sentinel

South Florida consumers used to be able to buy fresh tomatoes and bell peppers at Publix that were grown at Whitworth Farms in Boynton Beach. But last year, the third-generation farming family was forced to lease its land because it was no longer profitable to farm it.

Florida’s Director of Cannabis has only been on the newly-created job a few months, but is already helping architect the foundation for a state hemp program.

Jose Iglesias / Miami Herald

Kim Rivers' dad was a Jacksonville Sheriff's deputy while she was growing up. For a time, he was working with an undercover narcotics unit.

Today, Rivers leads the largest seller of legal marijuana in Florida, as the CEO of Trulieve.

The company was the first to have medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, and now has the most. Revenues grew 400 percent last year to more than $100 million and sales are expected to more than double this year. It has bought dispensaries in California and Massachusetts, and announced the purchase of a Connecticut dispensary this month.

Danny Rivero

Business from cannabis is growing fast in Florida; some of it regulated tightly, and some of it without rules. But all of it comes with cash that the banking industry is reluctant to touch. 

 

The first legal industrial hemp seeds in decades are growing now in South Florida soil.

CBD is showing up in ice cream, gummy bears and cocktails, but the state says the products are illegal.

And millions of dollars are being generated by the medical marijuana industry in Florida, but few banks want the money.

News Service Florida

Governor Ron DeSantis signed his first piece of legislation earlier this week: a bill allowing smokable medical marijuana in the state of Florida. It's been one of the top priorities of his administration.

Hemp in Florida is one step closer to legality. A measure legalizing hemp production passed its first legislative hurdle Wednesday.

New Cannabis Chief Sees Potential In Hemp

Feb 6, 2019

Saying hemp is poised to be a “multibillion-dollar industry in the state,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Wednesday appointed the state’s first cannabis czar.

Fried, a Democrat elected in November who made increasing access to medical marijuana one of the cornerstones of her campaign, tapped Holly Bell, a former banker, to serve as director of cannabis. Fried created the position after taking over the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services last month.

New Crops Proposed After Michael Devastation

Feb 4, 2019
DON RYAN, FILE AP PHOTO

Hemp and hops are being promoted among alternatives for crops wiped out by Hurricane Michael in the eastern Panhandle.

Glen Aiken, director of the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center, said Monday the need for alternatives has grown as farmers in an eight-county region suffered most of the estimated $1.5 billion hit to the state’s agriculture industry in the October storm.

Lawmakers unveiled the much-anticipated farm bill compromise Monday night, ending the months-long impasse over whether a critical piece of legislation that provides subsidies to farmers and helps needy Americans buy groceries could pass before the lame-duck session concludes at the end of the year.

Paul/Flickr

A product made from cannabis could become one of Florida’s top crops: A bill in Tallahassee would allow Florida farmers to grow hemp.

Robert Clayton finished construction last year on a house made of hemp in Tarpon Springs. It’s thought to be the first of its kind in Florida. He testified at a Senate hearing about his research for the Hemp Industries Association.