FDACS inspectors block 8,700 hemp-extract packages ‘marketed to children’ from hitting Florida shelves
Wilton Simpson gets back up from Florida firefighters.

The questionably packaged products must either be destroyed or returned to the manufacturer.

Florida’s crackdown on flashily packaged, kid-enticing drugs continues.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson announced the discovery of more than 8,700 hemp-extract packages with candy-like designs that would likely draw the attention of minors.

Inspectors from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) found them at Top Private Labels Co., a business in Daytona Beach.

The questionably packaged products, which Simpson’s office said are “attractive and/or marketed to children,” were placed under a “stop sale order” Thursday and will not enter the Florida market.

They must either be destroyed or returned to the manufacturer, an FDACS spokesperson told Florida Politics.

“I am deeply committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of Florida’s children and consumers — especially from products like these that can pose serious risks when ingested by children,” Simpson said in a statement. “With local, state, and federal partners, we’re taking bold steps to enforce these critical changes to Florida law and keep harmful products out of the hands of our young ones.”

Marijuana-derived products are still largely banned in Florida, with exceptions for people who obtain medical use permits. However, a legal loophole in a 2018 federal law allowing the growth of hemp and removing the plant from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s list of controlled substances has led to an explosion in legal products high in THC — marijuana’s psychoactive chemical — across the country.

Hemp and marijuana are two varieties of the cannabis plant. Marijuana contains a comparatively high concentration of delta-9 THC, and in states where the drug is legal that is typically the go-to strain sold.

In states where recreational use remains outlawed, like Florida, retailers sell alternate products with delta-8, delta-10 and delta-0 THC, which are strains cultivated from the hemp plant to specifically induce the same euphoric “high” traditional THC provides.

Photos of the packages FDACS inspectors blocked from going to market in Florida. Image via FDACS.

During the 2023 Legislative Session, Simpson worked with lawmakers to reform Florida’s hemp laws to better safeguard consumers and children. That led to SB 1676, sponsored by Sen. Colleen Burton and Rep. Will Robinson.

The measure, which received unanimous approval in both chambers of the Legislature, maintained the age limit of 21 and up and added a statewide ban on packaging “attractive to children.”

It also mandated that the products sold in Florida be packaged in safe containers and held ingestible hemp products to the same health and safety standards as other food products.

To enforce the changes, FDACS conducted “the largest ever inspection sweep of businesses selling products that contain hemp extracts in July and August,” a Department press note said. That included examinations of more than 700 businesses across all 67 Florida counties and resulted in the discovery of 83,000 packages of hemp-extract products that wouldn’t look out of place in a candy aisle.

Altogether, FDACS has found more than 107,400 such packages since the law went into effect July 1.

Top Private Labels Co. is led by President Stephen Davis, according to the Division of Corporations.

A 2021 press release described Davis as a marketer with more than 45 years of experience in the food, drug and natural products sector.

FDASC said it has “not determined yet,” whether Davis will be fined or face other penalties, as the case “has to work through the administrative process.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.

One comment

  • Earl Pitts American

    November 2, 2023 at 5:53 pm

    Say your prayers Dook 4 Brains weed groomers Florida’s gonna send y’all’s trifialling @ss’s to prison.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704