There appears to be a concerted effort between the state and federal government toward making industrial hemp a mainstream commodity.

At the end of June, the U.S. Senate passed the 2018 Farm Bill by an 86-11 vote. Among the provisions: language removing hemp, a cannabis plant material with low levels of THC, from the federal list of controlled substances, along with language validating state-backed plans for hemp programs. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell championed the measure.

Meanwhile, Florida is making further progress with an industrial hemp pilot program. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has adopted rules implementing a 2017 law that allows the two Florida land grant universities — University of Florida and Florida A&M University — to develop public-private partnerships to produce hemp, analyze results and report back to the Legislature.

State Rep. Ralph Massullo and state Sen. Bill Montford brought forth the legislation. Dr. Jeffrey Sharkeyand Taylor Biehl of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida helped author and support it.

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