Nearly six years ago, the Florida legislature set aside a medical cannabis license for a Black farmer like John Allen to join the burgeoning industry.
But the license still has not been issued by the Florida Department of Health, which regulates the industry.
Twenty-two licenses have been issued, but none so far to a Black farmer, despite the aim of the legislature in 2016. In the intervening years, the licenses have generated enormous revenues from some of the license holders - frustrating the Black farmers who wonder how they can catch up.
"The license should have been released going on five, now six years ago, where a lot of the white farmers are now $150 million to $175 million ahead of the game versus the Black farmers that have to start over at zero and are behind the ball again and the medical marijuana industry," said Raymond Warthen, co-founder, and president of Orlando-based Zion Infinite Farms, which has applied for a license. "It's unfortunate."
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