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Black Farmers Still Hoping For Changes To Low-THC Medical Marijuana Bill

the Florida state capitol building
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A Florida Senate bill to implement the state’s low-THC medical marijuana law is headed to the Senate Floor. But black farmers in Florida hope the bill changes to be more inclusive.

Right now, the bill has a provision that requires growers to have been in business for at least 30 years and cultivate at least 400 thousand plants to be eligible to apply to be one of the state’s distributors. The Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association says that provision would bar them from participating.

That’s because black farmers haven’t been in business that long. Over the years they’ve fought discriminatory lending practices by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A class action lawsuit was settled in 2011. State Senator and Minority Leader Pro-Tem Oscar Braynon has been trying, unsuccessfully, to amend the bill to lower the requirement from 30 years in business to five.

“Yeah, we’re still working on it, the bill hasn’t come to the floor yet. I hope to have some resolution by the floor but we want to continue the conversation,” said Braynon.

The low-THC cannabis bill passed the Senate Rules Committee Thursday. Braynon is hopeful it will reach the Senate Floor before the end of the regular legislative session on May 1.