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No Farmer Left Behind In Florida...


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A provision of a Florida medical marijuana law has been the reason for many issues among black farmers within Florida who have stated it’s keeping them out of the potentially lucrative business. This group is currently taking their battle to the Florida legislature with the goal of passing an amendment that takes the regulation out of the bill.
This past year, Governor of Florida Rick Scott signed his name on the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, which allows certain nurseries in Florida to cultivate and sell low-level THC cannabis to individuals who suffer from seizures, muscle spasms, and cancer. However, the law states that those who meet the qualifications for a medical marijuana license must have worked as a registered farmer in the state for 3 consecutive decades. Many black farmers in Florida are saying they have been hampered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture past discriminatory work ethics that have made it difficult for them to progress in the industry.
“There weren’t that many black farmers 30 years ago in the nursery business,” Howard Gunn, Jr, the president of the Florida Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association, said FOX News. “Because of that, we weren’t able to produce as much or be as profitable as [other] farmers. If we found one [black] farmer growing that many plants, it would be surprising.”
Yet changing the language in last year’s legislation only proves to be an uphill battle. When Sen. of Florida’s Oscar Brayon, A black Democrat who represents Miami, introduced and amendment earlier this year, a Republican colleague reportedly tried to sway him to withdraw it, saying that he would amend the language in the bill Gov. Rick Scott signed this past year.
Expanding entry into the medical cannabis business can end up being beneficial to vendors of color and their client list, yet with Florida’s current law that set in motion the chances of a black-owned farm becoming victorious with one the 5 licenses that Florida will award is slim.

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