Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed the Industrial Hemp Pilot Projects bill, allowing hemp-growing plans by the University of Florida and Florida A&M to move forward, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
The universities plan to partner with private companies to conduct and pay for the research, which must be registered with the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The universities’ research office will oversee the pilot programs to ensure they comply with rules set forth by the Agriculture Department. The law requires the universities to submit a report to the governor and Legislature within two years of the program’s creation.
The bill received bi-partisan support; championed in the state Senate by Democratic Sen. Bill Montford, and in the House by Rep. Dr. Ralph Massullo.
The pilot programs still require the approval of each university’s board of trustees. The report indicates that the crops will be grown in rural parts of the state and not directly on the college campuses. Hemp crops must contain less than 0.3 percent THC as defined under the 2014 Federal Farm Act, which permits universities and state departments of agriculture to cultivate hemp for research purposes.
To date, over 30 colleges and universities throughout 19 states are conducting industrial hemp research programs.
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