FLORIDA -- Hemp. It's related to marijuana, but you don't smoke it, you make things with it.
After being banned for more than 80 years, it's once again legal to grow it.
What You Need To Know
- Florida hemp farmers facing challenges amid hurricane season
- Hemp used to make things like paper straws, perfume, dresses
- Florida not eligible for federal hemp crop insurance program
- Torrential wind and rain from storms could ruin the crops
However, in Florida, hemp farmers are facing a challenge insuring their crop just as hurricane season heats up.
From paper straws to perfumes, even designer dresses, hemp is in line to become the key ingredient -- a durable fiber that thrives on sunshine, the kind Florida has in abundance, making the state nearly perfect for growing.
However, there are some big risks, and as hurricane season hits its stride, hemp farmer Doug Warren is concerned about what could happen to crops if torrential wind were to blow them away or if too much rain were to raise their THC limits above the legal limit, which has been known to happen.
The net results: millions of dollars of uninsured losses because Florida is not one of the 21 states eligible for the federal government's new hemp crop insurance program.
And it's an issue Warren says is already holding back the growth of what could become a multi-billion dollar industry.
"If you're going to go the bank for a loan or you're going to have partners or even if you're going to get just some investment capital, you have to have these assurances in place," Warren said.
Hemp industry leaders say a key reason Florida's been excluded from the federal hemp crop insurance program is because state rules for growing and processing hemp were rolled out too slowly.
There is one private company offering hemp crop insurance, but it's expensive and limited.
The Florida Hemp Association's Taylor Biehl says if the feds don't step up, Florida's economy will suffer.
"We have not seen any tier one insurance company call us or call any others in Florida that we work with and members of our association to say 'we are marketing our services with custom-tailored plans specific to your objective,'" Biehl said.
For now, the objective for farmers like Warren is simply to make it past hurricane season to an uneventful fall harvest.