Regulators of Florida’s medical marijuana industry are currently examining a dozen applications for a new license intended for Black farmers.
The application window for new licenses, which were newly made available because of the growing number of medical marijuana patients, lasted from March 21-25. But after a five-year wait, it’s still unclear when a decision will be made on which applicant will get a license.
The Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use oversees the industry and is reviewing the applications. The office recently published a list of applicants, though it only included names and application numbers to “ensure confidential and exempt information is not released to the public.”
The names of the applicants, some of whom have been identified by Florida Politics, are:
— Charles Smith
— Willard Meeks
— Florida Urban Medical and Educational Services: According to the state Division of Corporations, the company is managed by Anthony Brunson of Davie. The company traces back to the mid-2000s when it was initially established as AB Realty Group. It later merged with another company and took the name Florida Urban Medical and Educational Services.
— Terry Donell Gwinn: Gwinn is the manager of Gwinn Brothers Farm in McAlpin. According to a profile by the Suwannee County Farm Bureau, Gwinn Brothers Farm is a 1,137-acre farm that “is best known for their premium watermelons, which are sold locally and throughout the eastern United States.” The operation also produces peanuts, iron clay peas, bahiagrass seed, hay, and beef cattle.
— Leola T. Robinson: Robinson is the manager of Robinsun LLC, which was established in March, according to documents filed with the state. Incorporating documents also list Tameka Holly of Jacksonville and Osage Creek Cultivation in Berryville, Arkansas, as managers of the company. Osage Creek Cultivation was one of the first four companies to receive a cannabis cultivation license in Arkansas.
— FTG Development: The company was initially founded as Florida Tree Growers in 1983 but changed its name to FTG Development in 2006. Its president is John Allen of Fort Myers and its vice president is William Reese II of Cape Coral. FTG has tried unsuccessfully on multiple occasions to become licensed as an MMTC, joining Florigrown’s failed lawsuit and filing a separate action in circuit court that also was dismissed. FTG Development also gave an agency informal hearing a shot but failed there as well.
— Fred Fisher/Donald Gordon LLC
— RFW Global: The company was initially founded in 2014 but merged with another company, MFCP, in March. The current manager is Christopher Moulton of Jacksonville.
— Moton Hopkins
— Henry Crusaw: Crusaw, of Lake City, is listed as a manager of Crusaw Farms, which was incorporated in January 2022. According to a PPP loan received by fellow manager Mark Crusaw, the farm’s primary activity is cattle ranching.
— Innovative Fix: The Sarasota-based company was established in 2002 by owner Hugh Hurst, a former Air Force Technical Sergeant. In March, the company filed documents with the state adding three board members: Homer Gary of Ocala, Crystal Bowman of Micanopy and Justin Davis of Gainesville. Gary last month established Homer Gary Family Farms.
— Shedrick McGriff: McGriff has deep roots in the Florida farming community as a third-generation operator of the Jackson County farm his family has owned for over 75 years. McGriff has farmed for over 28 years. In addition to farming 500 acres of corn, cotton and peanuts, McGriff has received many awards, including Family Farm of the Year in 2018 and the Florida Farm Bureau Federation CARES designation in 2019. He also serves as a committee member for the USDA’s Farm Service Agency.