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A plan to for more hemp regulations in Florida has some worried it'll put them out of business

The flowering bud of a hemp plant
David Wandeka
wikimedia commons/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0
The flowering bud of a hemp plant

Florida’s hemp industry is upset over a legislative plan they say will hurt their business. The measure’s sponsor says the bill is meant to keep companies “in your lane.”

The conflict is over how hemp products are defined in state law and how much THC—the chemical compound that induces a euphoric state—can be in hemp products.

The measures, House Bill 1475 and Senate Bill 1676, would establish a maximum THC potency level in Hemp products.

“You have a medical marijuana system in one lane and the hemp system in another lane and the lanes have gotten mixed together,” said bill sponsor, Rep. William Robinson, R-Bradenton. “This bill simply realigns those lanes into two clear lanes so are public and so our children understand and their parents understand where that lane is.”

The proposal would put stricter rules on the distribution and retail sale of hemp extract in order to curb access to some of the euphoric-inducing strains of the products by minors.

Carlos Hermida owns Chillum Mushroom and Hemp Dispensary. He worries these provisions are so strict they would erase the demand for any hemp products.

“It’s not like these bills outright ban hemp products but they would regulate them in such a way that customers would no longer want to buy them,” Hermida said.

The bill is backed by Florida Agricultural Commissioner Wilton Simpson who is concerned about high-potency THC inside hemp products that are sold to, and consumed by, minors.

“These products being widely available to anyone regardless of age concerns me. This proposed legislation creates much-needed guardrails around these products,” Simpson said.

Jay McCormick, President of Florida Healthy Alternatives Association, recently testified that he opposes the THC caps but agrees with other provisions around safety and keeping the products away from kids.

“We are in agreement that more can be done to regulate these products like child-proof packaging, limiting access of these products to persons over the age of 21, marketing guidance, and placing these products behind counters and out of the reach of youth,” McCormick said.

The bill continues moving in both chambers.

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