On April 16, the U.S. Department of Agriculture formally approved Florida’s state hemp program, clearing the way for Florida growers to begin cultivating hemp later this month. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who will oversee Florida’s state hemp program through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), offered the following statement:
“After months of incorporating feedback from the public, growers, and industry stakeholders, we are thrilled that Florida’s hemp industry officially begins now. I thank the USDA for their swift review and approval of our state hemp program.
“By working closely with our farmers, processors, retailers, and consumers, Florida’s state hemp program will become a model for the nation, will set a gold standard for this emerging industry, and will create billions in economic opportunity for Florida.
“As our economy deals with the impacts of COVID-19, this approval will give our agriculture industry a new alternative crop for many years to come.”
Growing Hemp in Florida
With the state hemp program’s rules now filed for adoption and approved by USDA, FDACS will begin accepting applications to grow industrial hemp on April 27, the first day authorized under the state filing timeframe, online on the Hemp/CBD in Florida website.
Commissioner Nikki Fried has been a consistent champion of Florida’s emerging hemp industry, appointing in 2019 the state’s first-ever Cannabis Director, hosting five workshops and public hearings across Florida on hemp state rulemaking, and working ahead of USDA to finalize rule development. FDACS submitted the state’s hemp program to USDA for review and final approval.
The long-awaited date for cultivation applications is here! On Tuesday, April 6, 2020, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) filed our cultivation rule for adoption, which started a 20-day clock for the rule to be effective on April 27, 2020.
What does this mean? FDACS will start accepting applications for cultivation on Monday, April 27, 2020, via our website, FDACS.gov.
As part of the hemp cultivation permitting process, applicants are required to complete a background check.
To complete a background check, you must have the ORI number (Originating Agency Identifier) that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has assigned to FDACS: FL925080Z.
As of April 17, 2020, the number is active and may be used at locations that complete the fingerprinting and submission process (Livescan service providers).
For challenges using the ORI number, please contact (850) 410-8161 or ApplicantChecks@fdle.state.fl.us.
We look forward to our first hemp growing season in Florida! If you have questions, please direct them to cannabis@FDACS.gov.