US (FL): Legislation would grant new medical cannabis licenses to Black farmers previously denied

The Florida Department of Health will soon be accepting applications for up to 22 new applicants to enter the medical cannabis industry, which would ultimately double the number of Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) license holders operating in the state to 44.

Now a state Democrat has proposed legislation that would automatically award nearly half of those licenses to the Black farmers who applied for the one medical cannabis license that was specifically carved out for them by the Florida Legislature in 2017.

St. Petersburg Sen. Darryl Rouson has filed legislation (SB 1356) that would require the Department of Health to award medical cannabis licenses to the so-called “Pigford” applicants (The Pigford v. Glickman settlement addressed racial discrimination in farm lending during the 1980s and 1990s, according to the Minority Cannabis Business Association).

“You know, in the first round of licensing, the state got sued, and the way they settled it was to give the seven litigants a license,” Rouson says. “Why can’t we do that with the eight or nine ‘Pigford’ applicants? Just settle it by giving them licenses out of the 22 that are about to be issued rather than dragging this thing out for years.”

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