Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, April 27, marks the two-year anniversary that Florida’s hemp program, overseen by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), began to accept applications to grow industrial hemp following formal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). FDACS manages and regulates Florida’s hemp program and permit kitchens that make edible cannabis products, under the state’s medical marijuana program.
“Florida’s hemp program has seen increasing success since its inception in 2020,” said Commissioner Fried. “FDACS is proud to support our budding hemp industry and it’s thousands of producers, processors, and retailers as they work every day to meet consumer needs amid increasing demand for the many safe and sustainable products that can be produced with hemp. From biodegradable packaging products, to textiles and food and medicinal products like CBD, Florida will benefit from hemp’s economic impacts for years to come while consumers have access to locally made and environmentally conscious products.”
Hemp in Florida: Commissioner Nikki Fried has been a consistent champion of Florida’s emerging $370 million hemp industry. After the 2018 Farm Bill removed prohibitions on industrial hemp that have been in place since 1937, Commissioner Fried worked with the Florida Legislature in 2019 to pass historic state hemp program legislation. In the same year, Commissioner Fried hosted a series of hemp rulemaking workshops across the state, creating a space for the public to ask questions and provide valuable input into the hemp rulemaking process. Following the success of the workshops, Commissioner Fried appointed the state’s first-ever Cannabis Director and created the Hemp Advisory Committee to help guide FDACS’ hemp rulemaking process and the development of the state’s emerging hemp industry. In July of 2019, Commissioner Fried provided a statement to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry to encourage the federal government to provide clarity and consistency in their regulations for the industrial hemp industry.
In 2020, Commissioner Fried oversaw the launch of Florida’s hemp program following formal approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, establishing food safety and animal feed rules to protect consumers. The Department also launched a portal to give interested growers a guide and a user-friendly way to apply for permits. Within the program’s first year, hemp in Florida created an estimated $370 million economic impact, supported over 9,000 jobs, and generated over $17 million in federal, state, and local tax revenue. There are currently 761 active hemp cultivation licenses, 945 cultivation sites, and 19,523 of approved acres across 64 of Florida’s 67 counties.
Most recently, the Commissioner’s 2021-2022 Legislative Budget Request included a $4.6 million request for the state hemp program and hemp related issues.
More information about growing hemp in Florida may be found at the FDACS Office of Cannabis website.