Florida Advances Bill Targeting Hemp Cannabinoids: What It Means for Consumers and Businesses

Florida’s legislative subcommittee has made a significant move towards regulating psychoactive hemp-derived cannabinoids like Delta 8 THC and Delta 10 THC with the advancement of House Bill 1613. Passed by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee by an 8-4 vote, this legislation addresses concerns surrounding the proliferation of such cannabinoids in the market.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and hemp products federally, leading to a boom in the industry. However, the rise of products containing psychoactive cannabinoids like Delta 8 and Delta 10 THC has prompted states, including Florida, to consider tighter regulations.

House Bill 1613 seeks to ban Delta 8, Delta 10, and other hemp-derived cannabinoids like HHC, THC-O, THC-P, and THCv. Representative Tommy Gregory, the bill’s sponsor, emphasizes its aim as a consumer protection measure rather than a criminalization effort.

The proposed legislation also redefines hemp, imposing stricter limits on THC content compared to federal law. If passed, it could significantly impact products currently available, including full-spectrum CBD oils.

Industry advocate Jeff Sharkey supports the bill, citing concerns about the safety of cannabinoids not naturally occurring in cannabis and the lack of research on their effects.

However, there’s vocal opposition to HB 1613. Critics argue that while some regulation is necessary, the bill’s strict provisions could devastate Florida’s hemp businesses, potentially driving consumers to the black market.

At a recent hearing, Democratic Representative Hillary Cassel expressed concern that the bill could undermine the state’s hemp economy and push consumers towards unregulated products.

Michael Pool, a hemp retailer, highlighted the potential economic impact of the bill, stating that it could affect non-psychoactive products widely used across Florida.

Despite these concerns, Representative Gregory believes HB 1613 won’t harm the legal hemp industry. He argues that tighter regulations are necessary to prevent adverse health effects associated with unregulated cannabinoid products.

The bill now moves to the House Infrastructure Strategies Committee for further consideration. A companion measure in the Senate, SB 1698, is also expected to be voted on soon.

The fate of these bills will determine the regulatory landscape for hemp-derived cannabinoids in Florida, impacting both consumers and businesses in the state.


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