Florida’s Restrictive MMJ Law Faces New Challenges

The Florida legislature continues to face legal challenges in its attempt to allow patients access to low-THC, high-CBD marijuana strains like Charlotte’s Web. A new bill written to expedite this process has engendered some pushback from black farmers, who assert that the bill contains discriminatory requirements.

To bid for one of the five licenses to cultivate and distribute these high-CBD strains under current law, a farm must grow 400,000 or more plants and have been in existence for at least 30 years.

Only 99 of Florida’s farms qualify, and hundreds of black farmers argue that they could not go into business 30 years ago because of legal battles with the Department of Agriculture regarding discriminatory lending practices.

Senator Rob Bradley (R.-Fleming Island), who sponsored the initial legislation, acknowledged that the bill has a disproportionate negative impact on minority farmers after several members of the Florida Black Farmers Association called on senators to do away with the 30-year rule.

Although he wants to address this, Bradley is concerned about the potential delays this new legal hurdle presents for families that need access to these high-CBD strains now. “The purpose of this bill is to end the legal challenges and to fulfill a promise we made to these families,” Bradley said. “Anything that strays from that purpose is going to be a problem for many of us since that is the reason we are pursuing it this session.”



Photo Credit: Daniel Chodusov

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