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Ag Commissioner Announces Hemp Workshops

June 6th, 2019 by Jake Stofan

Interest in growing hemp in the state is high following legislation legalizing the plant.

Floridians will get a say in the future of the hemp industry through participation in a series of workshops scheduled in June.

Hemp is expected to be a multi-billion dollar industry in Florida.

The Governor is expected to sign this year’s hemp bill into law.

When he does, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried will be tasked with filling in the blanks in the legislation.

“Having a licensing structure for growing, and the manufacturing side and different requirements. What are we actually going to ask for the testing standards to look like,” said Fried.

The Department of Agriculture’s Cannabis Director Holly Bell said she’s been fielding questions on a daily basis from people eager to break into the industry.

“They want to know how soon they can get a permit to grow, what it’s gonna cost, how they need to qualify, will there be a limited number of permits,” said Bell.

However, until the department completes its rule making process, many of those questions can’t be answered just yet.

The Commissioner and Cannabis Director will tour the state in late June, asking the public what they want Florida’s hemp industry to look like.

There will be three opportunities for public comment, June 20th near Miami, June 21st in Tampa and June 24th in Tallahassee.

“We’re making history here, and we want to make sure the citizens of our state are right there by our side, giving input, suggestions, ideas of things to cover in the rules,” said Fried.

Fried said the goal is to get rules in place as quickly as possible, in hopes of getting the first crops in the ground by 2020.

“This is why we’re having as open of a transparent conversation now. So we hear everybody’s opinions, we get everybody’s advice and suggestions so that we have a smooth rule making process,” said Fried.

Fried said the Department has also been in close contact with other states that have already established hemp programs to help guide the rule making process.

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