Florida’s One Step Closer to Banning Delta-8

—Delta-8 THC Might Be Banned in Florida Soon—

—Florida’s Hemp Industry Could Come to an End Soon—

If you are a fan of Delta-8 THC infused beverages, flower, vape cartridges or edibles…. You may be out of luck soon! 

This pass Monday, a committee in the Florida House of Representatives passed HB 1474, which could effectively kill the Florida Hemp Industry.  Stock up, cause Florida could soon join a long list of states that are heavily restricting legal Hemp derived Delta-8 THC products!

Two bills, HB 1475 and SB 1676 introduced by Senator Colleen Burton and Representative William Robinson, would reclassify hemp extract as “a food that requires time and temperature control for safety and integrity of product” and impose several regulations that would effectively end the Florida Hemp industry. Both bills have passed their first committees and are working their way strong through the Florida legislature!

Currently there are a number of products sold openly in hemp dispensaries, smoke shops and convenience stores throughout the state that contain derivatives of THC that are similar to what you can find in medical marijuana. The proposed bills would regulate the levels of THC in hemp products rather ineffective amounts. This pass Monday the legislature amended the bill to only allow for 5 milligrams of Delta 8 per serving and 50 mg per container. 

“Delta 8 is commonly referred to as “diet weed” or “weed light”, it can produce a psychoactive effect, but it is about 50% of the potency of Medical Marijuana’s Delta-9 THC”, explains Carlos Hermida, owner of Chillum Hemp and Mushroom Dispensary, “A serving size of 5 milligrams per dose is next to nothing when compared to the 10 milligrams of Delta-9 THC per dose… it wont do anything! Some of my customers are veterans struggling with PTSD and need to use up to 200 mg to treat some serious conditions. I know that 200 mg sounds like a lot but in terms of hemp it really isn’t!”

The argument to ban hemp in Florida seems to be fueled by a fear that these THC derivates could possibly end up in the hands of children. During an Agriculture Senate hearing that heard the bill on this past Monday, Burton introduced the bill as a bill that is “pro children” with the intention of protecting kids from harmful substances.

Hemp advocates claim the proposal is a product of “big cannabis” attempting to shut down the competing hemp industry. That the goal of the legislation is not to protect kids from harmful products but rather to put hemp companies out of business so people would buy more medical marijuana! In the House Committee this past Monday, Robinson introduced the bill as a “stay in your lane bill”. Claiming that the state has put forth a medical marijuana program and the hemp industry shouldn’t be able to compete with them.

“It is hard not to expect big cannabis is involved. If you don’t count the black market, the hemp industry is its main competitor,” explains Carlos Hermida from Chillum Hemp and Mushroom Dispensary located in Ybor City, Tampa, “THC derivatives like Delta 8 offer people the benefits of medical marijuana without the high prices, constant doctor visits, and the many people don’t like the fact that the state keeps a registry of medical marijuana patients. Many people fear that being placed on that registry could restrict their rights, the ability to legally own a gun permit is probably the main fear.”

Hemp is legal by federal law and contains derivatives of THC that work just like medical marijuana. Since CBD became popular, hemp has been rising in popularity and in recent years has offered THC derivatives that has offered Floridians with a suitable replacement for the overpriced and overregulated medical cannabis available in this state.

Hemp can be defined, by the “2018 Farm Bill”, as a cannabis plant that contains less than .3% Delta 9 THC on a dry weight basis. If the plant has less than .3% Delta 9 THC then it is legal by federal law and the rest of the cannabinoids present are no longer on the controlled substance list. When President Trump signed this piece of legislation back in 2018, this served nicely to allow for the legal sale and possession of CBD and other medicinal cannabinoids.

Furthermore, the Florida Legislature passed legislation in 2019 that legalized hemp by state law, established a licensing process for businesses to sell hemp, and placed the businesses regulation under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Nikki Fried, the Commissioner of Agriculture at the time, claimed hemp would start a new industrial revolution in this state and also claimed that industrial hemp could save the Florida farmer.

Since 2021, there have been several different THC derivatives that have been hitting the market legally.  Derivatives like Delta 8 THC, Delta 10 THC, and THCP can get you stoned just like medical cannabis and are even stronger in some cases.

In addition to basically eradicating those THC derivatives from Florida store shelves the bill language encompasses items not traditionally considered as food, such as “snuff, chewing gum, and smokeless products derived from or containing hemp,”. The proposed legislation requires products be manufactured in a facility with a “current and valid permit” by a regulatory entity, along with a report confirming that the facility meets baseline requirements.  The bill also sets up requirements for containers, including establishing that they are “suitable to contain products fit for human consumption,” that they mitigate exposure to light and high temperatures, and that they are not designed to be “attractive to children.”

“The customer demand is behind these THC derivatives, and they are absolutely safe, the extraction process is done with some dangerous chemicals but these processes have been deemed safe and are used to produce much of the stuff we find in our foods”, Hermida explains, “Plus many of Florida companies are willing to comply with stricter regulations aimed on keeping kids away from these products. It feels more like an attempt to put us out of business rather than protect kids.”

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