Florida passes bill to create agricultural hemp program

Posted at 12:18 PM, May 03, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida will establish an agricultural hemp program under a bill headed to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill Friday to establish the program. It is hailed as a way to help farmers who have been battered by hurricanes and hurt by citrus diseases.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said the state could soon be a leader in hemp production, give the state's climate. She said citrus will remain the state's top crop, but citrus farmers will now have an option of supplementing their groves with hemp.

Hemp is related to marijuana but only has trace amounts of THC, the chemical that makes people high. The plant was a wide range of uses, from ropes and clothing to building materials and animal feed.