Florida Gov. Signs Bill to Issue Medical Cannabis Licenses to Black Farmers

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed into law a bill to issue medical cannabis cultivation licenses to Black farmers. The new law also expands telehealth renewals for medical cannabis patients.

Full story after the jump.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed legislation issuing medical cannabis cultivation licenses to Black farmers and expanding telehealth renewals for medical cannabis patients, Florida Politics reports. The farmers covered under the bill were qualified for the licenses but were ultimately left out of the final permits.  

In October 2021, the state received 12 applications from Black farmers to grow medical cannabis, and in September officials awarded one license to Terry Gwinn but the license has not been finalized because of legal and administrative challenges. 

State Sen. Darryl Rouson (D) told Florida Politics that the measure “goes a long way” toward giving the Black farmers justice and “the opportunity to participate in the medical benefits of marijuana and the largesse that has been enjoyed by other members of the industry.”    

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. In an interview with Florida Politics, State Sen. Tracie Davis (D) noted that the access to licenses could be passed on to the decedents of the licensees. 

The telehealth rules covered under the law still require that physicians conduct in-person physicals for patients before first authorizing a medical cannabis recommendation but the updated rules do allow renewals to be authorized via telehealth services.  

State Sen. Jason Brodeur (R), who sponsored the bill in the Senate, called its approval “a significant step forward in enhancing health care accessibility.”    

“This momentous legislation promises to revolutionize the way patients receive medical cannabis consultations,” he said in an interview with Florida Politics, “and further establishes Florida as a progressive leader in health care innovation.” 

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