JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Black farmers are now joining the debate over Florida's low THC medical marijuana law passed last year. They're calling for changes to the law saying its requirements to participate in the industry are unfair.
Eugene Monts is among a small number of black farmers who would meet the strict guidelines under Florida's low THC pot law, to become one of just five dispensing organizations chosen. Owner of Mont farms, he's been in business for 37 years.
Under the law qualifying nurseries are those that have been in business for at least 30 years continuously and produce at least 400,000 plants.
"It's not fair to the small farmer," said Mont. "If he grows one bush give him the opportunity to compete in the market."
Howard Gunn, who heads the state's Black Farmers Agriculturalists Association says due to discriminatory lending practices over the years, you'll find very few black farmers who meet the criteria.
"I resent that they would even have the audacity to put the stipulation or requirement in place that would exempt the black farmer," said Gunn.
Farmer Mont says he has no intention of applying to be able to grow and dispense the non-euphoric cannabis. But for those who are interested he believes it should be fair across the board for all farmers.
"Don't just keep feeding the pockets of the multi-million dollars farmers or industries that have the capability to grow it and control the industry," said Mont. "Because that's what's happening."
According to the News Service of Florida, Senate Regulated Industries Chairman Rob Brantley is pushing a proposal this session that would increase the number of dispensing organizations to 20 and expand the types of eligible patients.