Hemp, which is differentiated from marijuana by its low content of THC, is one of the most exciting alternative crop opportunities for Florida's farmers and landowners. At the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, studies are underway that are assessing how a stable hemp industry could be established in our state.
Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried has also been hard at work to bring hemp and all of it's benefits here to our state. Speaking on Hemp, Fried stated "It’s something that’s going to bring jobs here to our state economy. We’re looking at this to be a $20-30 billion industry in the next five to 10 years. That’s money that gets to go to our state for education, for affordable housing, for infrastructure, and it really is going to be something that is going to change the face of our state."
As Florida's agricultural sector continues the process of establishing an industrial hemp industry, any legislation regarding hemp and medical marijuana is of extreme importance. Most recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill regarding the regulation of financial practices related to banks and companies that sell hemp.
The purpose of the recent legislation is to ensure that financial institutions are not prosecuted for providing financial services to companies in the hemp industry. The bill, named the Secure and Fair Enforcement (or SAFE) Banking Act of 2019, was introduced by Representative Ed Perlmutter, a democrat representing Colorado's 7th district. The bill was introduced in March of 2019 and was passed by the house on September 25. While the bill still has a ways to go before being made into law, the bipartisan support in the House is a cause for optimism.
The official summary of the bill reads: "As specified by the bill, a depository institution shall not, under federal law, be liable or subject to forfeiture for providing a loan or other financial services to a legitimate marijuana-related business."
This legislation is an important step for the establishment of a hemp industry here in the state of Florida. By assuring financial institutions and potential investors that they cannot be held liable or face legal penalties for providing financial services to hemp and medical marijuana companies, the bill will help to make the hemp industry even more financially viable. This bill will be instrumental in ensuring economic stability for industrial hemp.
For more information on hemp, check out these articles.
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