Hemp legislation goes to Governor Ron DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Hemp could soon be a $20 billion industry in Florida, but it depends on the Governor signing legislation he received Friday legalizing industrial hemp, and the state’s Agriculture Commissioner wants you to encourage the Governor to sign the legislation.

Hemp is one step closer to being legalized in Florida (MGN)

Hemp is marijuana’s second cousin made illegal in 1957. But perhaps no longer in Florida. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried wants you help to make that happen.

“The bill was actually sent to the Governor [Friday] morning, so if anyone has an ear of the Governor, encourage him to sign the hemp bill,” Fried told the Capitol Tiger Bay Club.

Fried sees hemp as a possible savior for panhandle families who lost a 20 year old crop of pine trees during Hurricane Michael.

“It is going to be something that's going to replace all of our styrofoam, our plastic, out paper. Hemp creeps. It is gong to be what I call an industrial revolution across our state and the country, and it’s all biodegradable,” Fried said.

Elected as an advocate for medical marijuana, Fried says big changes are needed before patients will really benefit.

“Stronger competition means it becomes more affordable. Getting them out of the black market and into our licensed dispensaries.and we need to fight for health care for medical marijuana patients.”

Asked if marijuana would ever be legal in Florida, the Commissioner said it's going to take time.

“And I do see that happening as more and more states legalize it and get into the marijuana space, you’re going to see more movement in DC.”

Eleven states have already legalized recreational marijuana. An initiative trying to get on the 2020 ballot would to add Florida to that list faces an uphill battle.

The legislation requires hemp and CBD products meet testing standards for food safety. Fried says consumers should be careful buying the products until the state has developed testing standards.