Senate unanimously votes to restrict hemp, THC ahead of potential marijuana referendum

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Florida consumers may have to start buying hemp products by mail soon.

Senators unanimously approved legislation crimping the state’s hemp industry, as well as more tightly regulating THC, as voters await news on whether they’ll have a chance to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana this November.

Florida’s hemp market is currently the second biggest in the country in terms of agricultural area allotted to the plant. Sen. Colleen Burton’s bill (SB 1698) proposes a number of material changes to what the sponsor calls an “unregulated market” and a “continuation” of work begun by the Legislature in 2023.

These include 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). And it came with new changes during its first hearing by the full Senate on Wednesday, a meeting that set up the floor vote.

Democrats affirmed the bill as well, with Sen. Tracie Davis of Jacksonville differentiating between the “almost perfection” of regulation in the medical marijuana sector, and the need to “make sure Floridians are protected” from other cannabis products.

Amendments added ahead of the floor vote include language deeming products that look like “toys” as attractive to children, $2 million in nonrecurring funds to allow the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for testing equipment, and language pushing back the effective date of the legislation to Oct. 1, 2024, to allow more time for implementation.

Other than those changes, the legislation is the same as it had been in previous stops.

The bill would ban cannabinoids that serve as functional alternatives to delta-9 THC, the euphoria-inducing compound commodified by the state’s medical marijuana program.

The banned substances would include delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, delta-10-tetrahydrocannabinol, hexahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinol acetate, tetrahydrocannabiphorol and tetrahydrocannabivarin.

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 created 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 the GOP Rep. Tommy Gregory product advancing through The House Infrastructure Strategies Committee Thursday, complete with amendments matching those on the Senate side.

Reps. Angie Nixon, Anna V. Eskamani and Hillary Cassel were voices of opposition on the Democratic side, but the numbers weren’t with them.

Meanwhile, the sponsor warned about people making the choice to “self-medicate” in their close, wondered why the industrial hemp sector couldn’t make it without support from other product lines in his close, and chided opponents of his bill as having a “libertarian view of the world.” Gregory also complained about infused honey products, saying one “looks like a lollipop.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


12 comments

  • Linwood Wright

    February 15, 2024 at 10:17 am

    The FREE State of Florida, ladies & gentlemen!

    • Dont Say FLA

      February 15, 2024 at 12:10 pm

      Floridians are free. Free to do whatever Rhonda Dee, Assley Moody, and the swingy, rapey MFLs approve for them to do.

      Everybody be careful, though. Do as Rhonda, Assley Moody and MFLs say, not as they do. Never as they do Doing that stuff is for them, not for you.

  • Tom Palmer

    February 15, 2024 at 10:46 am

    The inconsistencies are astounding. The same legislators who want to turn development into an almost unregulated market wants to do the opposite for marijuana.

    • MH/Duuuval

      February 15, 2024 at 10:49 am

      Nothing like raining on your enemies’ parade.

  • Dont Say FLA

    February 15, 2024 at 11:54 am

    FLOP Gov Ron and the FLgOP are not able to ban commercially available and federally legal products.

    Only thing Ron can do is ban Florida’s small business owners from their businesses being successful after consumers are forced to purchase legal products by mail until Rhonda’s ban is overturned in federal court.

    Assuming damages will be awarded to small business owners, State of Florida better be saving money in a fund to pay those damages Rhonda and the FLgOP are choosing to pay tomorrow just to hoot and holler a little today.

    Why does Rhonda hate small business owners? And gays? And blacks? And Mexicans? And trans? And everybody?

    Want to protect the public, Rhonda? Build viable transit and the ban the sale of cars. Ban the sale of guns. You have a right to bear arms, but you don’t have a right sell them. Ban profits off the manufacture and sale of firearms and ammo to citizen. 2A doesn’t guarantee profits. It guarantees the right to bearing arms shall not be infringed, and profits are infringements.

    So many things that could be done to make Florida better, but Rhonda, as usual, does the opposite.

  • FLPatriot

    February 15, 2024 at 12:37 pm

    Good bill…You want to get high, Then get your card and buy Cannabis. Hemp and CBD shouldn’t be getting people high.

    • Impeach Biden

      February 15, 2024 at 1:24 pm

      Agreed! I think we should go back to Doctor prescribed alcohol too like we did in the 1920’s. You want to get drunk? Get your card to buy whiskey.

    • Dont Say FLA

      February 15, 2024 at 2:33 pm

      Delta 8 and Delta 10 were made legal by President Trump’s farm bill. Why do you hate President Trump? Are you some kind of commie or what?

      • Josh Green

        February 15, 2024 at 4:25 pm

        Of course they’re commies. Trump just said he would encourage Russia to attack NATO if he’s president.

        And these lowlife scum of the Earth MAGAT’s all just nodded in agreement like a bunch of idiotic sheep. Reagan would be absolutely ashamed at them.

  • Linwood Wright

    February 16, 2024 at 11:04 am

    The only people this hurts are the small businesses that have popped up over the last few years in this industry. This product is still legal at the Federal level thanks to Trump’s Farm Bill and anybody who wants this can just mail order it.

  • JAHSON

    February 16, 2024 at 12:16 pm

    The right to use any plant is an inalienable God given right. So sick of these tyrants in government squashing our rights.

Comments are closed.


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