Hemp expected to be multi-billion dollar industry following governor’s approval

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Florida farmers hurt by citrus diseases and hurricanes are cleared to cultivate hemp after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill late Tuesday, but more regulations still need to be set. 

Hemp comes from the cannabis plant just like CBD oftentimes used for pain, anxiety and insomnia. But hemp has a number of other uses state leaders plan to tap into.

“It is going to be something that’s going to replace all of our Styrofoam, our plastic, our paper, hempcrete,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. “It is going to be what I call an industrial revolution across our state and the country, and it’s all biodegradable.”

There’s still work to be done before hemp products can be produced in Florida, but state leaders are banking on it to bring in a lot of money. 

“We’re going to get a tremendous amount of support, quoting this being a $20 to $30 billion industry. Of course not overnight, but certainly over the next five to 10 years,” Fried said. 

Fried’s department is now busy finalizing rules on how hemp should be regulated. 

But before all of that happens, a number of concerns must be addressed. 

Lawmakers say the hemp plant is potentially invasive and could threaten other plant life in the state if not properly controlled.

The commissioner said the agriculture department is working to have the rules finalized by this fall, with the first crops growing by next year.   

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