By Carlos Lopez-Cantera
Tallahassee, Florida March 31, 2020 -- The Hemp Industries Association of FL (HIAF) asks Florida elected leaders to deem the agricultural operations of hemp and hemp businesses critical infrastructure.
The HIAF recognizes the immense challenges elected officials, health administrators, and others are facing when issuing orders to protect the public across the country and understand and support the necessity for leaders to implement and enforce “Stay at Home” directives.
Many hemp products like hemp grain, hemp seed oil, hemp protein powder, food, beverages, salves, and tinctures can be purchased at grocery stores, convenience stores, and pharmacies that are currently designated critical infrastructure. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security’s Guidance on The Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, dated March 19, 2020, deemed food and agriculture as critical infrastructure that must be maintained during the COVID-19 crisis. As manufacturers of hemp-based goods and the retailers that host these products are authorized to remain operational, it would align with the vision to allow hemp-based retailers to remain open for business under similar expectations as grocers.
Requiring closure of hemp businesses will not reduce the demand for these critical products. Many customers have grown to rely on them to aid a multitude of human and animal-related wellness issues such as epilepsy, MS, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, pain, anxiety, and insomnia. It should also be noted that the hemp industry has seen a spike in demand for its products since the COVID-19 pandemic has been impacting the United States.
Temporary closure of hemp businesses could leave those reliant upon hemp-based products without the supply of critical supplements. HIAF’s small business members are ready, willing, and able to quickly, effectively, and safely provide customers with beneficial products by implementing social distancing protocols and no contact delivery services. Hemp-based products have become an essential part of many Americans’ daily lives, and the businesses focused on providing these products should be authorized to operate like other critically essential businesses.
HIAF respectfully requests that the administrations of , state, and local authorities provide hemp businesses and their essential employees an exclusion from any “Stay at Home” orders as the products they supply play an essential role in Americans’ wellness. Such a designation can help avoid disruptions of vital wellness-related goods in a time where individual wellness is paramount.
Hemp Industries Association of Florida (HIAF) is the official state charter of the National Hemp Industries Association, which has been fighting for fair hemp legislation for 25 years. The HIAF is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association dedicated to cultivating a friendly business environment and supporting the commercialization of hemp for a wide variety of wellness and sustainable alternative products. This includes providing education, training, and a reliable network of industry players to make Florida the national leader in the hemp industry. The HIAF will always strive to have a strong voice on Florida's Capitol Hill to ensure that no part of the industry or its participants go unheard. More information about hemp's many uses, and hemp advocacy may be found at www.hiafl.org.
HIAF: Raymond Mazzie 321-368-0103; Ray@hiafl.org