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.
By Nadia Kounang, CNN
Cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive ingredient in hemp and marijuana, could treat opioid addiction, a new study says. Given to patients with heroin addiction, cannabidiol, also known as CBD, reduced their cravings for the illicit drug as well as their levels of anxiety.
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Attorneys general across the United States have joined together in urging lawmakers to pass banking reform legislation that would allow the banking industry to work with businesses in the legal marijuana industry.
Last week, attorneys general in 30 states and 4 U.S. territories sent a letter to Congress asking them to pass the SAFE Banking Act, or something similar, to protect banks that work with marijuana businesses. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody was not among those who signed the letter.
There are more than 80,000 licensed doctors in Florida, but just over 2,000 are currently qualified to prescribe medical marijuana to patients.
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Returning from Iraq after the deadliest year for U.S. soldiers in the war, a local veteran said his life was completely different.
"I was just kind of like, I felt like a shell of a person," said the soldier who wanted to go by Jake.
Jake said he was on prescribed medications that numbed him. He started looking into alternatives like medical marijuana.
"I was a little hesitant because of the stigma attached to it from working in the military all my adult life. It was something kind of frowned upon," Jake said.
But he found a doctor who helped guide him. Now, Jake is on a CBD and THC mix.
"I take a pill at night time and I sleep like a baby," said Jake.
But not all patients can find the right doctor or right medication combination so quickly. There are more than 100,000 active medical marijuana holders in the state but only 2,212 doctors qualified to prescribe medical marijuana, according to Florida's Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
WEARETV ABC 3 Pensacola FL
by Renee Beninate
In 2010, Allman was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She was confined to her bed and wheelchair, taking 50 pills a day.
"I literally for the last nine years felt lost for a while on all those medications - 50 drugs a day. I spent a couple years after I was diagnosed just completely in a daze," she said.
Today, she can now walk, only takes five medications a day and has gotten off opioids.
She said medical marijuana has been the difference.
WUSF Public Media By ABUKAR ADAN
Florida voters in 2016 approved a constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana. And while recreational use is still illegal, cities and counties across the state are loosening up penalties.
The surprise was the next part: Because she'd failed the test, she was being recommended for dismissal. The director of the school's entry-level nursing program, Lori Lupe, handed the eager, first-year student a letter declaring she had violated the school's zero-tolerance drug policy. McKeon was so stunned she barely defended herself. She left the February 2018 meeting and cried.
Initially recruited to swim at Nova Southeastern straight out of high school, McKeon had to postpone her college plans because of health problems that began with a severe stomach bleed. Now her life was being thrown off-course again — this time by the very thing that had finally helped her feel better.
One day six years ago, Holly Bell was rummaging through her daughter’s Volkswagen when she stumbled upon an identification card. It was issued from a medical marijuana registry in Los Angeles, California. She stared at Hilary’s face on the card, fascinated but not surprised.
“I mean I grew up in an era where everybody smoked pot. It was no big deal,” Bell says.
She can laugh about it now but back then, she had a slew of questions for her daughter.
In her answers, Hilary described how medical marijuana relaxed her muscles and soothed her anxiety – both crippling symptoms of a congenital disease; she was born 10 weeks premature and with mild cerebral palsy.
Today, Hilary Bell, 28, works as a film writer in Nashville, where medical marijuana is still illegal. And Bell has recently been named the first-ever cannabis director of Florida, where the regulation and use of cannabis remains a political hot topic.