Black farmers in Florida fight to grow marijuana

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock


The legalization of marijuana by many states across the country is garnering big business for growers and distributors. It is estimated that the legal marijuana trade grosses profits close to $3 billion to $10 billion with a workforce of nearly 60,000 in 23 states. A growing string of businesses are profiting from growing and distributing marijuana. But when it comes to Black farmers getting a piece of the lucrative pie, it seems they are being shut out.

Certain rules such as barring individuals with felony drug convictions, as well as expensive application and licensing fees are a significant hurdle for potential Black businesses. When it comes to Florida, Black farmers are now taking their fight for entry to the market to the state legislature. In Florida, state law requires that growers have operated a registered nursery for at least 30 consecutive years. Black farmers are crying foul because there are possibly no Blacks who meet this criteria. Part of their argument is that they believe that past discriminatory practices by the U.S. Department of Agriculture have made it close to impossible to enter the industry.

According to Florida Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association President Howard Gunn, Jr., “There weren’t that many Black farmers 30 years ago in the nursery business. Because of that, we weren’t able to produce as much or be as profitable as other farmers. If we found one Black farmer growing that many plants, it would be surprising.”

It is a fact that the USDA discriminated against Black farmers by increasing tax sales, seizing land, delaying loans and denying subsidies and disaster relief and other actions, which White farmers were not subjected to. Because of these injustices, 13,000 Black farmers successfully sued the federal government for over $2.3 billion.


TAGS: marijuana, black farmers,discrimination,Florida,USDA,pigford decision

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.


  • honeybutter
    May 29, 2015

    and quest what they will win due to the other case won back then ., i mean it was common knowledge that blacks were not let in on this gold mine of a industry which would lift the black communitie up financially no dam wonder economically we are so behind , the study for some harvard students, i bet you these college student figured it out and embarrassed the hell out the USDA . WHOM IS RUN BY WHITES ., every dam thing in america is run by whites and jews , and bristish ., even our judicial system governing law on police brutality ,, police actually see the way blacks are descriminated in the courts , and everybody get paid for arresting black folks , from the police to the judges .. no dam wonder the prisons are packed . .that is also symbolic of why blacks cant get licensed .. a 3rd of us are in prison. … and counting . a qualified black farmer would have to be dam near 55 yo anyway good education ., and money in the bank to open up this type of business , old white money has dominated for centuries . its all about holding down the black man .. while giving the chinese a spot in every market out here , asian would be running the marquainaa farms if they werent most of them still illegal in the states and running nail shop , allowed to stay here only cause they run businesses here ,, did you know that any foriegner who runs a business can be classified as resident the step right up under citizenship? that allow them to build a home and a business here and stay as long as they please as long as they dont get locked up for a felonie .. dui dont count either ….
    im sick of the discrimination of black businesses period ., a black will get turned down for opening a bar in a white area of the citie ,but a white man can get a license immediatly no issue .. that is the way it runs .. you dont see know blacks with liquor license unless in the hood . some run down beer store . destroying the black communities and they usually look run down , with panhandlers in the front of it . . that is what whites allow us to have . .. . we cant open up a bar in uptown or midtown of any citie .. unless its a upscale restaurant .. only city i seen be able to have nice bars in white areas is atlanta …………look at kansas city mo . .classic example if you been there you know what i mean .
    its a shame . how black business men and women are treated . they act like we are not capable of being trusted selling mariquanna . and half of the locked up black men in jail is there for sellling .. they are good business men if you ask me .. but broke the law? that is now legal for the white man to do ………..but they dont get labled drug dealers they are agricultural farms PUKE AND SPIT DAM SHAME

  • Faded Hope
    May 30, 2015

    Marijuana is illegal b/c it grows naturally, works wonders medically, and makes people more thoughtful and introspective. The people that have had their lives and futures ruined by our government’s prohibition practice is one of the most abhorrent things our nation has done outside of slavery itself.

    In a nation that champions freewill and liberty, the people of this nation should be able to choose–don’t even get me started on the hypocrisy of legal cigarettes and alcohol, both of which are more toxic and deadly. It’s never been about the general well-being and health of the average person. Instead marijuana remains illegal now because it significantly feeds our prison systems with inmates and revenue, which is just evil.

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