Florida Senate Agriculture Committee Unanimously Approves Bill to Legalize Hemp

Florida’s Senate floridaAgriculture Committee has voted unanimously to approve Senate Bill 902, a proposal to explicitly legalize the production and cultivation of hemp.

Senator Jeff Clemens, the bill’s primary sponsor, says his bill would create numerous jobs and would be a boon to the state’s economy.

If passed into law, the proposal – titled the Hemp Industry Development Act – would direct the state’s Agriculture Department to distribute licenses to those wanting to cultivate hemp, and to regulate the plant to assure that crops don’t have a THC percentage above 0.3%.

Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda has a companion bill in the House (HB 363), though it has yet to receive a hearing in committee.

“Somebody is making a profit off of those products, and it isn’t Floridians,” says Representative Vasilinda. “What we’re trying to do is give our agriculture community another option to be able to grow a crop that will be used in a variety of products that have already found their way onto shelves in stores all over Florida.”

According to a recent report by the Hemp Industries Association, there was over $600 million in hemp products sold in the U.S. in 2014, not including sales from many major retailers such as Whole Foods and Costco.

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