As Florida seems to get closer to voters deciding whether or not to legalize cannabis containing delta-9, restrictions on a closely related product are close to becoming law.
Burton’s measure contemplates a ban on currently commercially available and federally legal products, along with a cap on delta-9 THC, which could negatively affect the 487 growers and roughly 10,000 retail outlets in the state.
Her bill enjoys the support of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).
The bill would crack down on alternative cannabinoids that serve as functional alternatives to delta-9 THC, the euphoria-inducing compound commodified by the state’s medical marijuana program.
Per the bill analysis, SB 1698 bans “synthetic or naturally occurring versions of controlled substances listed in s. 893.03, F.S., such as delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, delta-10-tetrahydrocannabinol, hexahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinol acetate, tetrahydrocannabiphorol, and tetrahydrocannabivarin.” These substances affect the CB1 receptor that delta-9 impacts, some with more intensity and some with less.
These are just a few of the 160 cannabinoids in the plant, of course. But they have seen an increased market share in recent years as the medical community and patients seek alternatives to patent drugs with dangerous side effects and frequent recalls once the products are mature in the marketplace.
In committee, Burton explained her position on what she called “dangerous and misleading products,” noting she was in the Legislature when the hemp program began last decade.
“I remember the conversation, and the conversation about the potential uses of hemp that was cultivated in Florida would be for different products, none of which were intended to cause harm to any individuals,” she said. “As a state, we have the primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp.”
“We had real concerns,” she added, contending that “the market today that we have in Florida related to hemp products meant for consumption has exceeded our concerns.”
The current bill’s changes to delta-9 reflects Burton’s belief.
It revises the definition of “hemp” to “outline that hemp extract may not exceed 0.3% total delta-9-THC concentration on a wet-weight basis or exceed 2 milligrams per serving and 10 milligrams per container on a wet-weight basis.”
That sets a more rigorous standard than the federal one established in the 2018 Farm Bill that established initial parameters for the then-fledgling industry without arbitrary packaging limits. It would also impact full-spectrum CBD products, which meet the federal requirements and include minor cannabinoids as well.
The bill, if it passes, is a boon to the medical marijuana industry, as it removes competition for market share the hemp sector provides with THC, HHC, and other cannabinoids that interact with CB1 receptors.
An identical version of the bill (HB 1613) is moving through the House as well, with a committee stop on Monday for the Republican Rep. Tommy Gregory product.