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Lawmakers look to hemp as new industry

Posted at 6:23 PM, Apr 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-19 18:23:22-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With supporters pointing to the potential of a new industry, a House committee this week approved a plan for regulating production of hemp.

The bill approved by the House State Affairs Committee, would create a regulatory framework that would be administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

It deals with issues such as licensing people or businesses to grow industrial hemp and enforcement of the regulations.

The state is trying to move quickly to take advantage of a 2018 federal law that legalized industrial hemp as an agricultural product.

House bill sponsor Ralph Massullo says hemp can be used in numerous ways, such as in textiles, animal feed and construction materials.

“The hemp industry is waiting for someone to develop it. The uses of hemp are myriad," said Massullo.

With this week’s approval, the bill is ready to go to the full House. A similar bill also has cleared committees and is ready to go to the full Senate, with two week remaining in the 2019 regular legislative session.