Florida: Statement by Commissioner Nikki Fried on Medical Marijuana Licensing Process for Black Farmers….. “completely unacceptable and discriminatory”

Here’s her statement in full

 

Dec 3, 2021

Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried issued the following statement in response to the news that the state of Florida will officially begin the process of awarding one medical marijuana license to a Black farmer in 2022, after delaying the process for more than five years:

“The way that the state of Florida has handled the medical marijuana licensure process for Black farmers is completely unacceptable and discriminatory on its face. We should be leveling the playing field for Black farmers who have faced discrimination and other structural obstacles in the farming industry, not doubling their fees and creating additional regulatory burdens for them. The state needs to heed my calls for an investigation into this blatantly discriminatory rule – but in the meantime they should waive the application fees and accelerate the process immediately.”

In October, Commissioner Fried called for a state investigation into the rule announced by the Florida Department of Health that creates new financial and regulatory burdens that only apply to the Black farmers for potential discriminatory intent. The rule only applies to the Pigford Class of Black farmer applicants and will increase the application fee for these farmers to $146,000 from around $60,000 and creates more extensive application requirements.

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