We are proud to announce lawmakers passed SB 1726 today. We would like to thank Senator Montford, Representative Massullo and their staff for making this bill happen. The bill originally drafted by Senator Montford was amended several times along the path. The House companion was shepherded by freshman Representative Ralph Massullo of Citrus. While no bill is perfect, this bill significantly moves the hemp industry in Florida forward.
In 2016, language in the medical cannabis bill allowed Florida Schools to research hemp in accord with the 2014 U.S. Farm Act. This year’s bill gives the Department of Agriculture the authority it needs to build a robust research program.
SB 1726 allows a public, non-profit or private entity to partner with the University of Florida or Florida A & M Schools of Agriculture to create hemp research projects. The projects must take a hard look at any potential harms to existing crops and look for markets for the hemp products created.
We won’t have the Fresh from Florida label on hemp products anytime soon. There are still several hurdles. It is up to the Department of Agriculture to adopt rules, University Boards must approve the programs and research funds must come from private grants or federal funding. The research portion will take two years but plans to put hemp into the market are already underway.
The next stop for the hemp bill is the Governor’s desk. He can sign the bill, veto the bill or allow the bill to become law without his signature.
Chalk one up for the good guys.