Two Black farmers in Florida have received licenses to grow, process, and sell medical cannabis, News Service of Florida reports. The approval comes just weeks after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill to issue the licenses.
In October 2021, the state received 12 applications from Black farmers to grow medical cannabis, and in September officials awarded one license but the license was never finalized by regulators because of legal and administrative challenges. The provisions in the legislation about Black farmers satisfy federal requirements in place since 1999. For six years, the Legislature has sought to bring fairness to state licenses for cannabis production and come in line with the federal Pigford v. Glickman settlement under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which prohibits government discrimination against minority farmers.
The Florida Department of Health issued the licenses on July 11 to Terry Donnell Gwinn and Shedrick McGriff, who each met a deadline last week to submit a required $5 million bond to begin operating, the report says. Both farmers had previously met “all requirements for licensure” by an administrative law judge.
The law gives cannabis industry hopefuls whose applications were found deficient a 90-day “cure” period to address the problems. It’s unclear how many new licenses will be awarded under the law because not all of the applicants met the criteria.
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