Florida Hemp Plan Approved; What’s Next

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) mid-April approval of Florida’s state hemp program cleared the way for Florida growers to begin cultivating the crop soon. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) will begin accepting applications to grow industrial hemp on April 27.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who governs FDACS, said, “After months of incorporating feedback from the public, growers and industry stakeholders, we are thrilled that Florida’s hemp industry officially begins now.”

hemp
Nikki Fried

FDACS notified those interested in obtaining hemp cultivation licenses that applicants will be required to pass a background check. “First, you will need to submit your fingerprints through a Livescan service provider evaluated by FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement),” FDACS advised. Providers can be found here. “You may need to schedule an appointment before heading in to be fingerprinted,” FDACS stated. “Second, you will need to give the Livescan service provider the Department’s ORI Number – FL925080Z.” Those with questions can visit the FDACS cannabis website.

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“By working closely with our farmers, processors, retailers and consumers, Florida’s state hemp program will become a model for the nation, will set a gold standard for this emerging industry, and will create billions in economic opportunity for Florida,” Fried said. “As our economy deals with the impacts of COVID-19, this approval will give our agriculture industry a new alternative crop for many years to come.”

Fried has championed Florida’s emerging hemp industry since becoming agriculture commissioner in January 2019. She appointed the state’s first cannabis director and hosted workshops and public hearings to establish state hemp rulemaking.

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About the Author
Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large