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Florida Hemp Growers Can Apply for Permits Starting April 27

On April 16, the U.S. Department of Agriculture formally approved Florida’s state hemp program, clearing the way for Florida growers to begin cultivating hemp later this month. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried , who will oversee Florida’s state hemp program through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), offered the following statement:

After months of incorporating feedback from the public, growers, and industry stakeholders, we are thrilled that Florida’s hemp industry officially begins now. I thank the USDA for their swift review and approval of our state hemp program. By working closely with our farmers, processors, retailers, and consumers, Florida’s state hemp program will become a model for the nation, will set a gold standard for this emerging industry, and will create billions in economic opportunity for Florida. As our economy deals with the impacts of COVID-19, this approval will give our agriculture industry a new alternative crop for many years to come.”

Growing Hemp in Florida

With the state hemp program’s rules now filed for adoption and approved by USDA, FDACS will begin accepting applications to grow industrial hemp on April 27, the first day authorized under the state filing timeframe, online on the Hemp/CBD in Florida website.

Commissioner Nikki Fried has been a consistent champion of Florida’s emerging hemp industry, appointing in 2019 the state’s first-ever Cannabis Director, hosting five workshops and public hearings across Florida on hemp state rulemaking, and working ahead of USDA to finalize rule development. FDACS submitted the state’s hemp program to USDA for review and final approval.

FAMU Industrial Hemp Pilot Project, near Bartow, Florida. Credit: FDACS

Cultivation Applications

The long-awaited date for cultivation applications is here! On Tuesday, April 6, 2020, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) filed our cultivation rule for adoption, which started a 20-day clock for the rule to be effective on April 27, 2020. What does this mean? FDACS will start accepting applications for cultivation on Monday, April 27, 2020, via our website, FDACS.gov.

Background Checks

As part of the hemp cultivation permitting process, applicants are required to complete a background check.

To complete a background check, you must have the ORI number (Originating Agency Identifier) that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has assigned to FDACS: FL925080Z.

As of April 17, 2020, the number is active and may be used at locations that complete the fingerprinting and submission process (Livescan service providers).

Florida Hemp Growers Can Apply for Permits Starting April 27 On April 16, the U.S. Department of Agriculture formally approved Florida’s state hemp program, clearing the way for Florida growers

Hemp cultivation licenses now available in Florida

Jake Stofan , Tallahassee corespondent

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Hemp is a booming industry, but there’s one problem.

“All of the money has been leaving the State of Florida and going elsewhere,” said Gabe Suarez, owner of Natural Life, a Florida CBD chain.

Retailers of hemp products like Suarez don’t have any Florida product to carry.

“Every time one of my businesses purchases any kind of hemp, it’s purchasing it from a farm outside of the state,” said Suarez.

But soon that won’t be the case, with the Department of Agriculture accepting hemp cultivation applications as of Monday. 75 operations had already applied halfway through opening day.

“It only took people about 20 minutes to apply,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried.

Fried anticipates the industry will grow exponentially.

“This could be a 20 to $30 billion industry here in the state, not only on the CBD production,” said Fried. “I mean we’re already doing types of research talking about different ways to use it for plastic replacements and styrofoam replacements.”

Today, we launched our @FDACS Hemp Cultivation Licensing Portal, allowing interested growers to apply online.

As we’re building Florida’s #hemp program into a national leader, our new online application portal will help growers quickly & easily apply for licenses.

— Commissioner Nikki Fried (@NikkiFriedFL) April 27, 2020

Many are hopeful hemp can provide a lifeline to Florida farmers who are destroying as much as 70 percent of their crops due to a lack of demand because of the coronavirus.

“Especially with so many in our agriculture community suffering. You know not only through COVID-19, but even beforehand,” said Fried.

Even if you don’t purchase hemp products yourself, the added revenue from the industry will help keep ‘Fresh from Florida’ produce on your shelves.

“This is an opportunity to create an alternative crop here for our state, bring in some significant revenues,” said Fried.

And Fried said Florida grown hemp products will also be safer for Florida consumers.

“You’re getting what you’re anticipating. Making sure there’s no THC in there, making sure that there’s actually CBD in there, that there’s not metals involved or other types of chemicals that would be harmful to an individual,” said Fried.

The crop takes about four months to grow, so you can expect to see Florida grown product on retailers shelves by mid Summer or early Fall.

Hemp cultivation must take place on land zoned for agriculture or industrial purposes and applicants cannot have felony narcotics charges within the past ten years.

To apply for a license, click here.

Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

75 operations had already applied halfway through opening day.