A Cannabis Cultivation Battle Cry of Racism and Discrimination
Black Florida farmers are crying discrimination and racism, claiming that they are being denied legal marijuana farming opportunities.
The Legalities Of Florida Cannabis Cultivation
In 2014, Florida governor Rick Scott signed SB 1030, also known as the, “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014.” The signing of the bill opened the door for legitimate Florida nursery owners who had been in the business 30 years or longer to cultivate and distribute a low THC medical marijuana product. This legalization on a tightly controlled basis allows farmers to market the product to cancer patients and those suffering from seizures and muscle spasms.
Stipulations in the bill were specific and addressed the government’s requirement that any farmer sanctioned to produce medical grade weed be a licensed nursery owner for no less than than 30 years.
Fairness and Justice in Legislation
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Matt Caldwell, justified the verbiage and bill’s requirements by stating that he thought the legitimate nursery owners who had been in the business the longest should be the first in line.
As soon as the bill was signed in to law, black farmers in Florida proceeded to decry the unconstitutionality of the bill. Pointing to the Pigford vs. Glickman case.
The Cost of Discrimination and the Price Paid to Those Who Ride Its Coat Tails
What is Pigford vs Glickman?
“Pigford vs. Glickman was a class action lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), alleging racial discrimination in its allocation of farm loans and assistance between 1981 and 1996. The lawsuit ended with a settlement on April 14, 1999. To date, almost $1 billion has been paid or credited to more than 13,300 farmers under the settlement’s consent decree, under what is reportedly the largest civil rights settlement to date. As another 70,000 farmers had filed late and not had their claims heard, the 2008 Farm Bill provided for additional claims to be heard; and in December 2010, Congress appropriated $1.2 billion for what is called Pigford II, the second part of the case.”
The USDA estimated that no more than 2,000 claims would ultimately be filed.The original plaintiffs in the Pigford class-action suit numbered less than 500. However, as time went on the class action case took on a life of its own with 94,000 claims being filed. The National Black Farmers Association believes there are approximately 18,000 black farmers in the entire country.
The True Act Of Discrimination
If the black farmers would have obtained a tax ID number for a legitimate farming business 30 years ago they would not be encountering this dilemma. The farmers questioning the constitutionality of the bill have stated that they were in the farming business 30 years ago. It was not a requirement 30 years ago and is not now, to have a USDA loan in order to obtain a tax ID number. This is not a racial or discrimination issue. It’s is a legal issue. The true act of discrimination would be to allow those who did not have a legitimate farming business with a tax ID number 30 years ago to participate in growing medical grade marijuana now.