When former Lt. Gov Carlos Lopez-Cantera announced weeks ago that he joined the Hemp Industry Association of Florida as its president, it caught my eye for a number of reasons. Former elected officials are joining cannabis and hemp companies and organizations at an increasing rate, and Florida is positioned to be a “business-friendly” hemp state, once the final rules are adopted.

Lopez-Cantera was Florida’s 19th lieutenant governor from 2014 to 2019. He was also the Majority Leader in the Florida House of Representatives, and also served as Miami-Dade County’s property appraiser.

Some background: Florida officials expect the hemp rules to be finalized “soon,” Max Flugrath, a spokesperson for Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, told Cannabis Wire, adding, “Our goal is to have seeds in the ground by the end of the year, but we certainly expect seeds to be in the ground by early next year.”

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