Florida’s Department of Health has issued medical cannabis business licenses to two Black farmers almost a decade after medical cannabis was legalised in the state.
On 11 July, Terry Donnell Gwinn and Shedrick McGriff were awarded the licenses after meeting a deadline to submit a $5 million bond to operate.
Following years of setbacks, the granting of the licenses has been made possible after Governor Ron DeSantis signed bill HB 387 into state law in June.
The bill directs the Florida Department Of Health to make one medical cannabis business licence available exclusively for class members of the Pigford v. Glickman case, which both McGriff and Gwinn were a part of.
The case was a class action lawsuit that claimed that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had racially discriminated against African-American farmers in its allocation of agricultural loans and assistance from 1981 to 1996.
Speaking to WUSF Public Media, Gwinn’s lawyer Jim McKee, stated: “Mr Gwinn is grateful that the long-awaited Pigford MMTC (medical marijuana treatment center) license has been awarded, and he and his team look forward to moving forward quickly to begin cultivation, processing and dispensing operations.
“Upon receipt of cultivation authorisation, cultivation will commence in his Alachua County cultivation facility.”