Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried announced Nashville cannabis consultant Holly Bell as the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ new Director of Cannabis during a press conference on Tuesday.
According to Fried, the office will be focusing on expanding access for medical cannabis patients.
“Holly has developed, from her time in Tennessee and in the industry, business relationships,” said Fried. “And so we will be doing a lot of traveling to these areas and trying to lure in those corporate people here so there’s more job development.”
The process for creating regulations for Florida’s new hemp industry will also fall under Bell’s jurisdiction.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Bell expressed her optimism regarding the future of medical cannabis in the state, despite development being drawn-out.
“After eight years of slow progress, we can finally begin putting cannabis to work for farmers, consumers, patients here in Florida,” said Bell. “That’s exactly what I did in Tennessee—bringing together farmers, investors, and government to help build an infrastructure to prepare for that state’s hemp bill and cannabis industry, and drive their economy.”
Holly Bell has previously worked in banking and financial services and consulted on cannabis business matters in multiple states as well as help create the infrastructure to support Tennessee’s cannabis industry.
Medical cannabis in Florida is projected to create a $1.6 billion economic impact and surpass the number of manufacturing jobs in the state by 2020