Florida Politics reports..
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has called on Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate to follow through on proposed legislation to end the federal ban on marijuana and ease restrictions stifling Florida’s growing hemp industry.
In a Wednesday letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Cory Booker, Fried detailed how hemp growers in Florida are hampered by an “arbitrary line” between hemp, which is legal, and marijuana, which remains on the federal controlled substances list.
“This discrepancy is impacting the legal hemp industry, hindering access to capital, federal research funding, insurance protections against disaster relief, trade promotion through (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and U.S. Department of Commerce programs, developing markets, and employment protections,” wrote Fried, a former marijuana lobbyist and current candidate for Florida Governor. “If left unresolved, these unnecessary hurdles could suppress the growth of the hemp industry that is projected to increase at 32% annually through 2027 as our nation moves toward more environmental and health conscious products.”
The three senators in July released a draft of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which aims to remove cannabis — the source plant for hemp and marijuana — from the federal list of controlled substances, allow states to decide if and how they want to legalize it, expunge all nonviolent cannabis-related criminal records and create a federal framework for the production, distribution, sale and taxation of cannabis products, including marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD).