Black farmers in Florida stand to benefit from a medical cannabis bill passed in the waning days of the state legislature’s 2023 session. HB 837 would give a second chance to farmers passed over during an earlier application process to award what is known as the Pigford Black Farmer License. Pigford refers to a class-action lawsuits by Black farmers that claimed they had been unfairly denied loans and other benefits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The new law provides for licensure by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) of all Black Farmer License applicants who had received an approval or denial notice from DOH, “which did not cite any deficiencies with the application, regardless of the applicant’s final score.” HB 837 also orders the licensure of Black Farmer License applicants who challenged the application process under Florida’s Administrative Procedure Act, provided they received a final determination from an administrative judge, “determining that the applicant met all requirements for licensure … regardless of the applicant’s final score.”
HB 387 also mandates a 90-day period for Black Farmer License applicants to cure any deficiencies in previously submitted applications. In addition, the new law requires the continuation of any administrative challenges
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