Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced a plan Thursday for Black farmers in Florida to compete for a medical marijuana license in the state.
But the commissioner of agriculture and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried believes the new rule discriminates against protected black farmers in Florida.
In 2017, the Florida legislature set up the framework for its medical marijuana industry. The law required that a license be granted to “one applicant that is a recognized class member.” This was due to a decades-old case called the “Pigford” case, which addressed discrimination against black farmers on a federal level.
According to Fried, DeSantis’ new rule only applies to the Pigford Class of Black applicants and will increase the application fee by more than double the cost. Black farmers would have to pay $146,000, compared to $60,000 for applicants their counterparts. Fried believes this is a concerted effort to target black farmers with discriminatory fees and discriminatory licensing requirements.
Twitter quickly called out his hypocrisy stating he never actually addressed Fried’s issues and tried to make the cause political.
“It is completely outrageous that the DeSantis Administration has raised the fees and increased the administrative burden for Black farmers applying for medical marijuana licenses in Florida,” said Fried.
“Black farmers should have the same access to these licenses as the other 22 license holders that Florida has previously approved.”
The application will also evaluate the farmer’s plans for cultivation, processing, dispensing, security, and available funding. Applicants will also have to prove that were recognized member in the original “Pigford” class-action lawsuits.
Florida Health Officer & Surgeon General is Fried’s opposition for the upcoming Governor’s race took to Twitter to try and discredit Fried’s claims of black farmer discrimination in the state. He calls her claims ridiculous but fails to explain why black farmers have to pay more than double just to get their medical marijuana licenses.
Black farmers have historically been shut out of the application processes of medical marijuana licenses.
Now it doesn’t seem much different. Rules changed for black people to give white people a leg up and an advantage; that’s the American way. I’ll never understand why white legislators feel the need to always try to hold black folks back? All we want is a chance to follow our dreams. But when we succeed you feel threatened, why is that?