By Arek Sarkissian

09/18/2019 01:06 PM EDT

Former Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera will be announced as the first president of the Hemp Industries Association of Florida during a Thursday event in Tallahassee, association Chairman David Hasenauer said.

Hasenauer told POLITICO this afternoon that Lopez-Cantera earned a reputation for supporting small businesses during his term as the lieutenant under former Gov. Rick Scott. Lopez-Cantera, a Republican, also plans to become a hemp farmer, Hasenauer said.

“We can’t think of anyone who would be a better fit for the job,” Hasenauer said.

Scott picked Lopez-Cantera to be lieutenant governor in January 2014. Lopez-Cantera left office in January of this year after Scott was sworn in as a U.S. senator. Lopez-Cantera served in the state House of Representatives from 2004 to 2012. He had also announced a bid to run for U.S. Senate in 2015, but later dropped out of the race after incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio announced his reelection bid about a year later.

The Hemp Industries Association of Florida staked out its headquarters just steps from the state Capitol in February as the Legislature cobbled together FL SB1020 (19R) . The measure, which took effect in July, directs the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to enact regulations for the state’s hemp industry. The rules must be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture before hemp can actually be considered legal. Florida Department of Agriculture Cannabis Director Holly Bell said during a Tuesday Senate Agriculture Committee hearing that the rules will likely take effect early next year.

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