Florida Finally Licenses Its First Black Medical Cannabis Farmer

Florida officials are finally set to license the state’s first Black medical cannabis cultivator.

Full story after the jump.

Florida officials have finally licensed the state’s first Black medical cannabis cultivator, according to the News Service of Florida.

Terry Donnell Gwinn, the 69-year-old owner of Gwinn Brothers Farm in Suwanee County, received a “written notice of intent” on Tuesday from the State Department of Health signaling their intent to award him the license. In his application, Gwinn named his prospective cannabis farm ‘Gwinn Brothers Medicinals’ — he and his brother Clifford have farmed together for more than 40 years, growing watermelons, soybeans, peanuts, corn, and peas on their 1,137-acre farm, the report said.

“Mr. Gwinn is very pleased that his application was selected for licensure and is grateful for the hard work by the Florida Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana Use, to complete the review of the applications received. He looks forward to working with the office to complete the final steps to licensure.” Jim McKee, Gwinn’s attorney, via the News Service of Florida

The license was a long time coming: when the state’s first cannabis licenses were awarded in 2015, the rules were decried for containing discriminatory elements that favored white farmers. Then in 2017, lawmakers passed a law that was supposed to see new licenses awarded as the number of medical cannabis patients continued to increase.

Gwinn’s licensing could signal that health officials are finally set to honor that law, under which the state is required to double its number of cannabis operators from 22 to 44. Earlier this month, Florida First District Court of Appeals Judge Ross Bilbrey criticized state officials for having not issued any additional medical cannabis licenses: “Almost five years after the emergency rule was issued, the MMTC license application window remains closed,” Bribley said.

Meanwhile, multiple Florida senators formally questioned the head of the state’s medical cannabis licensing department last Fall about the delay in awarding a cannabis business license to a Black farmer.

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