Could hemp deliver salvation for Florida farmers?

Changes in federal law from the 2018 Farm Bill open the door to growing industrial hemp, and Sen. Rob Bradley hopes to advance legislation to get things growing the Sunshine State.

“I want Florida’s agricultural community to have the maximum flexibility to take advantage of opportunities presented,” the Fleming Island Republican said.

His bill (SB 1020) lands in front of the Senate Agriculture Committee on Monday.

The greatest challenge facing hemp remains current marijuana laws.

Florida tightly regulated the growing of medical cannabis; licensed dispensary owners — formally called “medical marijuana treatment centers” — can only sell supply they grow themselves.

Bradley doesn’t want legislation to allow an end-run around those laws. But he does think rules for growing hemp should be fundamentally different than for growing marijuana.

“Because they derive from the same plant, that’s why it has to be treated differently than growing lettuce or blueberries or oranges,” he said. “But it doesn’t require the same regulations for a controlled substance as for a pharmaceutical.”

His legislation provides specific definitions for hemp and hemp extracts. It also requires processing levels of THC in products down to a level less than what federal officials would schedule as

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