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Cannabis director expects first Florida hemp crop in 2020

By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service

Business leaders and entrepreneurs in the state’s capital city got an update on the roll out of a hemp industry from the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Director of Cannabis Holly Bell. Bell is optimistic a program will be in place by the end of the year.

Florida farmers, investors and entrepreneurs all have their eyes on hemp.

“It's safer and it's extremely durable, too, if you were to talk about clothing, infrastructure and building,” said Braden Ward, a senior at Florida Southern College.

Ward drove three hours to hear from Bell on how the hemp industry will look in Florida.

“What's upcoming in the future for us to try and invest in, if that be the case,” said Ward.

The hemp bill passed in May will officially legalize hemp and its byproducts, like CBD, in Florida. It’s expected to be a multi-billion dollar industry.

“Industrial hemp has 25,000 known uses today,” said Bell.

In addition to the numerous uses, supporters also hope hemp will become a supplemental crop for Panhandle farmers hit hard by Hurricane Michael.

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