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State Finally Picks First Black Florida Farmer for Pot License

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -The owner of a Suwanee County farm is in line to be the state’s newest medical-marijuana operator, beating out 11 other applicants competing for a license earmarked for a Black farmer with ties to Florida.

The state Department of Health on Tuesday announced it had issued a “written notice of intent” to approve a medical-marijuana license for Terry Donnell Gwinn, setting the stage for what could be protracted litigation over the sought-after opportunity to join the medical-pot industry.

“Mr. Gwinn is very pleased that his application was selected for licensure and is grateful for the hard work by the Florida Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana Use, to complete the review of the applications received. He looks forward to working with the office to complete the final steps to licensure,” Gwinn’s attorney, Jim McKee, said in a statement provided to The News Service of Florida.

Gwinn, 69, and his brother Clifford have farmed for more than 40 years and operate Gwinn Brothers Farm in McAlpin, the statement said.

Gwinn has cultivated watermelons, soybeans, peanuts, corn and peas on the 1,137-acre farm and has “deep roots in the community,” it said.

Gwinn’s application listed McAlpin-based “Gwinn Brothers Medicinals” as the fictitious name of the operation.

In addition to awarding a license to a Black farmer, this week’s decision could help pave the way for health officials to double the number of medical-marijuana operators in the state — currently at 22, not including Gwinn — as required by a 2017 law that set guidelines for the industry.

Florida voters in 2016 passed a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana. The resulting 2017 law included a provision requiring health officials to issue a license to a Black farmer because none of the African-American farmers in Florida could meet eligibility requirements for an earlier round of state licenses. [Read More @ WCTV]

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