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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How Black Farmers Are Being Shut Out of the Medical Marijuana Industry

Black Farmer

The legalization of marijuana is spreading across America, gaining supporters to allow the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes. Florida is one of the states that has joined the trend to allow some nurseries to grow marijuana, but black farmers and nurseries have been left out. Why?

How legal constraints are shutting out black farmers

Low-THC marijuana has been known to help patients who suffer from cancer, seizures, and muscle spasms. Many states like Florida are allowing nurseries to grow and distribute it, but under very tight constraints. For example, in order to get a license to grow and distribute marijuana in Florida, nurseries must have been in business for 30 years. The problem is that black farmers and nurseries were virtually non-existent 30 years ago.

In addition, it is expensive to get a license to enter the business of growing marijuana. It can cost thousands of dollars, and this can be a huge roadblock for many black entrepreneurs and others who want a piece of the pie. The pie represents what the Florida state Department of Revenue projects medical marijuana businesses could make -- $5.6 billion in annual sales.

The battle continues...

It was only last year that Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) signed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, legalizing marijuana in the state for medical purposes. Since that time, black farmers have been working hard to get the governor to ease up on regulations that are preventing them from entering the industry. Black farmers, with the support of the Florida Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association, aren't giving up but continuing their fight for equality in the medical marijuana industry.

To read more, visit www.thinkprogress.org/health/2015/05/05/3655141/black-farmers-florida-medical-marijuana/
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