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Legislative Update: SB 1698’s Passage – A Turning Point for Our Community

SB 1698 Legislation

We are Still Here!

You may have read or heard recently that many, most or all hemp products are now illegal in the state of Florida.  The part of that which is untrue is the “now.”  

Here are the Fundamental Facts of SB 1698:

  1. The Florida house and Senate have both passed legislation (SB 1698), which will decimate the hemp industry in Florida (details below)

  2. It has not yet been signed by the governor and is therefore not law yet.

  3. When the governor does sign it (which the industry believes is almost certain), the effective date will be October 1, 2024.

What The Bill Does:

This legislation bans and adds to the controlled substance list in Florida the following - thus, making them illegal for possession or sale:

  1. Delta-8 THC

  2. Delta-10 THC

  3. HHC

  4. THCV

  5. THCP

  6. THC-O

  7. Further, it caps the “total Delta-9 THC” content in any hemp derived product to 5mg per serving and 50mg per package. This total includes the THCA content. 

  8. The bill makes zero allowances for ratio of CBD:THC or otherwise protect full spectrum and non-intoxicating products.

  9. It makes the barriers to entry and reporting requirements for events so high that few, if any, hemp businesses will ever be able to participate in local events, fairs, or farmers markets.

  10. It restricts businesses from carrying or manufacturing non-compliant products for shipment out of state. 

  11. It requires that the toll-free number for the national poison control hotline be included on all packages. 

Impacted Products that You May Use

(These and all similar products will be removed from shelves by October):

1. CBD Oil of sizes greater than 30ml or concentrations higher than 1500mg per bottle (any economy size):

ex. 3000mg Blue Lotus Oil

2. Large packages of CBD capsules or edibles

ex. 80 count Cycling Frog 100mg capsules

80 count Cycling Frog 100mg capsules

3. CBD:THC products designed with low dose THC 

ex. Lazarus Unwind Gummies

4. All Delta-8 THC

ex. Blue Lotus Vegan Delta-8 THC Gummies

5. Any Delta-9 THC edible package greater than 50mg

ex. Enjoy Hemp Live Rosin Gummies

6. All Vape products except pure CBD

ex. Enjoy Hemp 3ml THCP Disposable Vape

7. All Flower

ex. Alliance Pre-rolls

The Factors Influencing Legislation

Any narratives that have been put forward about safety concerns, “protecting children,” or that otherwise cast this bill as in the best interests of Florida citizens are false.  The reality is that we are already regulated for manufacturing standards, limited to 21+, and have packaging and labeling requirements. Products that are unsafe, mislabeled, or that end up in the hands of children are already illegal.  People that are willing to break the law now will continue to do so even after the reputable businesses are gone.  In fact, the “street trade” will increase – potentially dramatically.

The real reasons are evident in the parties that wrote and lobbied for this legislation and funded millions of dollars to various parties involved in getting it through the legislature. Those are Trulieve, Curaleaf, and Muv – three of the largest Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) companies in Florida.  This is a classic case of large, well-funded businesses creating a monopoly for themselves at the expense of almost 10,000 small businesses.  There are 27 medical marijuana license holders in the state of Florida.  They hope to become 27 recreational marijuana license holders in November. They have now potentially ensured that they will have zero outside competition – even for CBD.  

The Hemp Industry Consensus:

The industry believes this is not the end and that the bill will not stand. It is believed to be unconstitutional for several reasons. First, it redefines hemp in contradiction with the federal definition. Second, it establishes a monopoly for one industry at the expense of another. Third, it restricts interstate commerce. It will be challenged in court. 

There is obviously no guarantee that a court challenge will be successful. But an injunction is certainly possible.  Hemp establishments could choose to continue to operate under the cloud of the legal battle. 

What it Means for You

Assuming it is signed by the governor and stands – hemp stores will be gone by October. Stores that carry a small selection of hemp products but specialize in other things will likely survive. This means those of us who are specialists in the field will be gone. You will be left with CBD topicals and small packages of THC gummies or cannabis beverages in smoke shops, gas stations etc. 

You WILL be able to order much of it online because Florida can’t restrict businesses in other states from shipping in federally legal products. The exception to this is the banned / controlled substances because credit card processors will not support their sale and it will be illegal for you to possess them.  

Online / From Out of State You Will be Able to Buy:

  1. All products which are still legal in Florida like pet products, topicals, THC-free, CBD, etc.

  2. CBD of any size

  3. Delta-9 THC edibles

  4. THCA flower and vapes

You will NOT be able to buy or posses:

  • Anything with Delta-8, Delta-10, HHC, THCV, or THCP 

Recreational Marijuana in Florida

Recreational marijuana will likely be on the ballot in November. The bill was prepared by the same parties responsible for this legislation, so they will be the only ones allowed to carry the products.  There are a few possibilities:

  1. It may not appear on the ballot

  2. It may appear and not pass (60% requirement)

  3. It may pass and the government may drag its feet on implementation. Virginia voted for legalization in 2021 and still does not have a recreational program.

  4. It may pass and be implemented immediately. In which case you will be able to go into a dispensary, wait in line, pay cash, and choose from products which may or may not match your preferences from the hemp industry. The CBD and CBD:THC selection in dispensaries is typically quite limited. 

What it Means for Blue Lotus Wellness

This is our passion, our mission, and our future. Our customers have honored us with their trust and their hard-earned dollars. We will find a way forward.  

We will keep everyone posted on the longer-term plans, but for now and through the summer nothing changes.  All our online and in-store customers can still enjoy access to our complete selection of products.

Keep in mind that we do offer local delivery for just $7 and USPS delivery for $7 or free shipping with a purchase over $75. Not comfortable or don’t have time to order online? Give us a call!  407-235-0653

Let us know if you have questions or would like further clarification. As there are updates, we will keep you informed. 

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