The Department of Health of Medical Marijuana Use awarded its first license to a Black-owned business in Florida owned by farmer Terry Donnell Gwinn.
According to Florida Politics, 12 people submitted their applications for approval; the one that came out on top was Gwinn. His approval came six years after the state’s voters endorsed the idea of medical marijuana and six months after the DOH began accepting applications.
“Mr. Gwinn is very pleased that his application was selected for licensure and is grateful for the hard work by the Florida Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana Use, to complete the review of the applications received,” business owner’s attorney, Jim McKee, told the Orlando Sentinel in a statement. “He looks forward to working with the office to complete the final steps to licensure.”
According to Florida Politics, Gwinn is included in the group of Black farmers, the Pigford Class, who sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the 1980s and 1990s for their racial discrimination when distributing loans to farmers (Pigford v. Glickman).
The Pigford Class consisted of over 15,000 Black farmers and got its name from the Pigford v. Glickman case.
In 2017, they were to receive their medical marijuana license because the Legislature approved the medical marijuana measure. However, a lawsuit’s long process prevented anything from happening.
“To say this has been a long time coming is more than an understatement,” the vice president of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida, Taylor Biehl, said. “It is our hope that the Department will move forward with opening an application window for the remaining 22 licenses available for bid, given the Supreme Court’s ruling 14 months ago. Irrespective of any legal challenges that may arise from the Pigford application, we believe the Department will move forward.”
Gwin had to prove he had done business in Florida for at least five years before receiving his medical marijuana license.