By Karla Arboleda
This month, those preparing to enter the hemp industry in Florida received legislative updates and attended meetings that were part of a statewide hemp road tour led by the Hemp Industries Association of Florida (HIAF).
HIAF Chairman David Hasenauer hosted the meetings, which included several speakers that provided information on how to get started with growing hemp. He described the road tour meetings in five different cities as a space for all types of hemp enthusiasts to connect.
“We’ve been going around the state to engage critical stakeholders, gather information and disseminate the best practices and guidance to potential entrepreneurs that are looking to get into the hemp space,” Hasenauer said. “We’re also undergoing rulemaking right now to implement SB 1020.”
The Bill titled State Hemp Program seeks to further define hemp as a commodity with less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol and the regulations to establish it. In order to inform attendees on everything from hemp legislation to hemp growing, HIAF hosted speakers like Melissa Villar, executive director of NORML Tallahassee, and Fred Harris, a public finance lawyer.
“We’re not just looking at CBD (cannabidiol) companies or just farmers; we want to engage the whole industry,” Hasenauer said. “We’re starting to build a network where people can work together to make this thing actually work in Florida.”
In addition to welcoming different industry hopefuls to the final stop in Tallahassee, Hasenauer announced former Florida Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera as the new president of HIAF, who is known for being a hemp industry advocate.
“We’ve won several cases arguing the viability of hemp as a commodity,” Hasenauer said. “Although the Florida chapter is new … we’re here to be advocates to the trade group and for the hemp industry, and we intend to do that to our fullest ability.”
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