Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried Says Medical Marijuana Processing Center License Application Rules Discriminate – Central Florida News – Health


Eric Range, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Minorities for Medical Marijuana, speaks at a press conference at Infinite Zion Farm in Parramore, surrounded by Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Representative of the State Geraldine Thompson, while Infinite Zion founder Ray Warthen watches. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE News

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has said the Florida Department of Health’s rules for medical marijuana license applications are discriminatory.

A Department of Health emergency rule covers Medical Marijuana Processing Center (MMTC) license applicants who are also members of a landmark class action lawsuit, Pigford v. Glickman.

This case resulted in a $ 1.25 billion settlement for black farmers who were discriminated against when they applied for USDA loans.

Under the new rule, Pigford members who apply for CMWMs will have to pay a non-refundable application fee of $ 146,000, more than double the application fee of $ 60,830 paid by others. At a press conference at the Infinite Zion Urban Farm in Orlando on Tuesday, Fried said the fees should be lowered, “This is what we have seen in other states across the country, which have recognized that we have a situation of social justice across the country and have tried to do better,” she said.

Fried says she also wrote to the Florida attorney general, requesting an investigation into whether the rule was created with discriminatory intent.

Eric Range, chairman of the board of directors of the nonprofit Minorities for Medical Marijuana, said none of Florida’s 22 MMTC licenses have so far gone to minorities. He said black farmers are already at a disadvantage due to historical barriers to land ownership and access to capital.

“Let us also remember that there are black farmers in the state of Florida who are not part of the Pigford class and who would absolutely want to participate in this industry, and I think it is important to us as than the state, to make sure that we “make room for these people as well,” Range said.

One of those farmers is Ray Warthen, founder of Infinite Zion Farms. Warthen’s great-great-uncle was Julius July Perry, who was lynched by a white mob during the Ocoee massacre in 1920.

“It bothers me more, because of the history we have known, what our ancestors had to go through. It is a constant hill that we have to climb. And we don’t even want to be ahead of anyone, just put ourselves on the same playing field. That’s it. “

The Florida Department of Health did not respond to questions about the higher fees for Pigford members applying for an MMTC license.


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