Hemp production and distribution were made legal under federal law in 2018 with the passage of the Farm Bill. Hemp is defined as a cannabis plant containing less than 0.3 percent of THC, the compound associated with getting high.
Since then, states have had the ability to create their hemp programs, including Florida, which went into effect in 2019. The most lucrative part of this industry has been producing biomass that contains cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound believed to treat conditions such as anxiety, stress, and other ailments.
However, this year a new measure was introduced by both the House and Senate in Florida called HB 1475 and SB 1676, respectively – mandating regulations on hemp products within the state. The bill seeks to regulate hemp products, making them illegal for those under 21 years of age; requires packaging, labeling, and testing requirements; requires that hemp products be sold in containers designed to minimize exposure to light and high temperatures; and puts limits on doses and packages.
These restrictions have been met with much opposition from those in the industry, as they will significantly reduce their profits. Additionally, packaging and labeling requirements are more stringent and require that all products be sold in containers designed to minimize exposure to light and high temperatures will increase costs as well.
These restrictions have created a problematic situation for hemp vendors and patients who rely on CBD products daily. There is still much uncertainty about how this new bill will affect the industry in Florida in the future. What further modifications may be made before becoming law remains to be seen.
The most controversial aspect of the bill is its limitation on Delta-8 products. This compound is believed to provide users with a light and relaxed feeling without the psychoactive or intoxicating effects, making it more attractive than traditional cannabis for some users. Furthermore, many patients have reported that Delta-8 products are beneficial in managing their chronic illnesses better than traditional THC products.
However, this new bill seeks to limit these products due to concerns about potential impairment as well as possible health risks associated with them. Those in the industry have expressed their frustration over this and argue that if these products are deemed unsafe, they should be regulated rather than banned outright. They also point out that limiting access to such benefits and milder compounds can harm those who rely on them for relief.
The proposed bill’s restrictions could majorly impact the hemp industry in Florida and cost thousands of jobs and tax revenues. This is because the regulations would make it more difficult for vendors to do business within the state. Additionally, increased testing and labeling requirements could add costs to producers who must comply with these regulations.
This could lead to decreased demand for hemp products since fewer people can access them due to restrictions on potency or other factors. This could result in a drastic reduction in the number of businesses operating within the state, leading to job losses and a significant reduction in tax revenues.
Ultimately, the proposed bills could have far-reaching implications for the hemp industry in Florida and beyond. While the bill contains stipulations that will benefit the industry, such as labeling requirements for CBD products and testing requirements for THC content, it also contains restrictions that could cripple businesses within the state and cost thousands of jobs and tax revenues in the process.
Those in the industry must consider both sides of this debate before voicing their opinion on what should be done going forward. The proposed bill may be beneficial to some but disastrous to others if passed into law without any further modifications or consideration of potential consequences. Ultimately, time will tell how these new regulations will affect the hemp business in Florida.
Enjoyed that first hit? Come chill with us at the Friday Sesh for a freshly packed bowl of the week’s best cannabis news!