Moving quickly after the passage of a federal law, the Florida Legislature on Friday gave final approval to a bill aimed at creating an industrial-hemp industry in the state.
Senators voted 39-0 to pass the bill (SB 1020), after the House approved it in a 112-1 vote Wednesday. The bill is ready to go to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The state is trying to take advantage of a 2018 federal law that legalized industrial hemp as an agricultural product. With hemp able to be used in numerous products, industry supporters contend it could be a boon for the state, including providing a new crop for Northwest Florida farmers and timber operations who sustained heavy damage in Hurricane Michael.
The bill would create a hemp program in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which is led by Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a major cannabis advocate.
It would provide a regulatory framework that includes requiring licenses for people or businesses that want to grow hemp and requiring them to provide detailed information about where hemp would be cultivated.
Fried issued a statement Friday praising the legislation.
“Today’s historic vote is 80 years in the making —- Florida is now on the verge of establishing a state hemp program and creating a multibillion- dollar industry,” Fried said.
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