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A Win for Florida Hemp!

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Florida hemp regulations are moving forward – but only with items the industry favors!!


Thank you so much to all of you who supported us with words of encouragement, petition signatures and messages and phone calls to legislators over the recent attempts to regulate Florida Hemp out of existence.


The Bills in question – House Bill 1475 and Senate Bill 1676 will be progressing to the legislature without damaging consequences for the industry!!!  This is a tremendous victory. However, we are told that another attempt may be made in the fall, so stay tuned.


The legislation originally had clauses that would have been catastrophic for the industry, but the legislators listened and learned and have agreed (at least for now) to proceed only with regulations that will help prevent the sale of intoxicating products to minors.  We are, of course, very supportive of this. 


House Bill 1475 and Senate Bill 1676 Florida Hemp

THE CHANGES TO CURRENT REGULATIONS


Florida already has manufacturing, labeling, and testing requirements for Hemp products.  These include commonsense things like batch numbers and expirations dates, third party potency testing and truth in labeling about cannabinoid content. 


Additions to these regulationsinclude two major changes, both of which we are in favor of:


Every ingestible and inhalable Hemp item will now fall under a 21+ purchase restriction regardless of intoxicating potential. We have always enforced 21+ for THC products, but now will do so for CBD products as well (previously 18+). 


All ingestible products must be in “light resistant” and childproof packaging.


What did NOT happen (but still could next session):


Absurdly low THC caps, which would have made even full spectrum CBD products illegal. There are now NO THC caps in the regulations. This means the Hemp industry in Florida will continue to operate under the federal guidelines of less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC by weight.


Banning all “synthetically derived” cannabinoids. The target of this proposed legislation was Delat-8 THC. However, it would have also banned popular non-intoxicating isolates like CBN.


Effectively handing over all cannabis related sales (hemp and marijuana) to the medical marijuana license holders – favoring 22 enormous corporations over 10,000 small businesses.


THE DELTA-8 THC CONTROVERSY


Delta-8 THC House Bill 1475 and Senate Bill 1676

Legislative efforts in multiple states have ignited debate and sometimes false claims about Delta-8 THC (both good and bad).  I have personally seen social posts indicating that some couldn’t wait for the hemp industry to “burn down” over this issue.  Others argue passionately that Delta-8 THC is the only thing they have found to help them deal with severe pain and remain functional. 


The argument has been made for several years that Delta-8 THC is illegal, unsafe, synthetic and based on a loophole in the law.  While there can be some truth to some of these arguments, it is also true that it can be safe, has an extremely low side effect profile, is better for some conditions that Delta-9 THC, and is being used by millions of people at this point for a wide variety of conditions.  Some people call it a life-saver.   


It is interesting to note that in attempting to regulate it out of the Hemp industry, the legislators at first used the argument that it is unsafe.  However, since the proposed legislation still allowed medical marijuana to sell it, this was obviously untrue.


THE FUNDAMENTAL FACTS ABOUT DELTA-8 THC


Natural vs. Synthetic – Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid – it is found in both hemp and marijuana (all cannabis).


Production – It is present in the plant in very low quantities.  Manufacturers therefore use an acid PH wash to convert CBD isolate into Delta-8 THC.  The molecules are all closely related.  This leads to the argument that it is “synthetic.”  The truth is that it is a naturally occurring compound that is converted from another naturally occurring compound in a lab setting to meet demand. Vitamin C is another example of this. The legislation defined it as “synthetically derived.”


Not just Hemp – Delta-8 THC has been and is being sold in hemp establishments as well as medical and recreational marijuana stores in states where it is legal. It was originally made popular by the hemp industry, but the marijuana industry is happy to sell it as well in places where they are still able to. 


“Other States” are Banning Delta-8 THC – it has been banned in some states and regulated in others.  The choice to ban it in most states was motivated by the lack of laws and infrastructure to regulate hemp and the support of recreational marijuana.  Most of the states that have outright banned it are recreational states.  Florida has a regulatory structure for hemp (one of the best in the nation) and should therefore regulate, not ban.


Why use it? – Consumer demand for Delta-8 THC comes from two primary sources.  First is the lack of availability of legal Delta-9 THC (the famous one) in all forms in all states.  Second is that many people prefer Delta-8 THC because it is less potent, more relaxing, and less likely to provoke paranoia. For the full list of potential benefits – see our article about Delta-8 THC.


Is it safe? – The argument to ban Delta-8 THC because it is inherently unsafe is false.  You have only to look at videos and blog posts from medical and recreational marijuana sites to see that this is not true.  In Florida, Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers regularly tout the benefits of Delta-8 THC.  And the proposed legislation would have made it illegal for hemp establishments to sell it – but medical marijuana could continue to sell it.  So, clearly, it can be safe. 


Verification of Safety – concerns about Delta-8 THC have to do with the potential processes used to create it and the lack of testing oversight.  These are valid concerns, and one should only buy Delta-8 THC (or ANY cannabinoid for that matter) from a trusted source that uses full “safety panel” testing to check for residual solvents, contaminants, pesticides, and heavy metals.  This is a compelling case for regulation.  Think of it this way – if you wouldn’t buy sushi from a gas station, you probably shouldn’t buy THC from them either.


Purchase by Minors – It is true that there was (until this legislation) no law in Florida regulating Delta-8 THC purchases to 21+.  There have certainly been instances where it has been deliberately sold to minors because of this lack.  We have always believed that is exceptionally reckless and have enforced 21+.  We welcome this legislation. 


We have elected to sell Delta-8 THC because of the benefits and consumer demand.  It has always been sanctioned by FDACS (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) and now has been given the nod by legislators.  We are thrilled to be able to continue to offer high quality Delta-8 THC products along with a wide variety of other cannabinoids!


WHAT'S NEXT?

We are fairly certain that the fight is not over, but we are hopeful that the next round will be less contentious and more transparent.  The “good actors” in the industry favor regulation that will provide clarity, quality, and consistency. Complete lack of regulations leads to idiots ruining a good thing for everyone.  But, we are not in favor of being shut down because of the actions of a few “bad actors.”


We are happy to participate in discussions with legislators about how to make our industry better for all parties.  We look forward to continued our continued evolution.





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