Florida Ag Commissioner Cranks up Campaign for Cannabis
One of the top priorities for new Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried is to flesh out untapped opportunities in cannabis cultivation. To help move that initiative forward, she has appointed Holly Bell as the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) Director of Cannabis.
According to FDACS, Bell will work closely with the Department’s Division of Plant Industry on developing Florida’s hemp industry, including the production, processing, inspecting, and manufacturing of the crop, and will assist in implementing the new farm bill as it relates to industrial hemp. She also will monitor the actions of the Florida Department of Health when it comes to medical marijuana and will support the Division of Food Safety on implementing the forthcoming edibles rules. In addition, Bell will collaborate with the Commissioner’s industrial hemp and medical marijuana advisory committees, members of which are slated to be appointed in the coming weeks.
After a career in banking and financial services, Bell consulted on cannabis business issues in several states. She worked to build the infrastructure to support the creation of Tennessee’s cannabis industry, following passage of that state’s industrial hemp legislation.
“Cannabis is an incredible opportunity for our state,” stated Fried during a news conference. “Holly was instrumental in helping start up Tennessee’s industrial hemp program, where she heard from farmers who needed an alternative for the future. She brought people together to make that vision a reality, and she’ll do the same here in Florida.”
Florida’s cannabis industry is projected to have a nearly $2 billion economic impact in the state by 2020.