Media Report / Opinion: Critics say Florida bills aimed to regulate hemp industry would instead kill it

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A pair of bills in the Florida legislature would regulate the hemp industry, but many across the state say the current proposal would kill the industry altogether.

Senate Bill 1676 and House Bill 1475 would ban marketing products to minors, and set firm rules on how much THC can be consumed in hemp products like delta-8.

Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson says Florida’s hemp industry has evolved beyond the intent of the legislature.

After the passing of the Farm Bill 2018 that opened the door for hemp sales, little has been done since to regulate the products like delta-8.

But some argue the new legislation is going too far.

“Some will say this bill will end the hemp industry,” Simpson said. “Let me be clear — the current wild wild west situation selling anything to anyone is going to end.”

Republican lawmakers are looking to close loopholes in state law that have created what some call “the wild west of hemp sales.”

“We’re trying to build a regulatory structure much like we’ve had for medications in the world,” Republican Senator Colleen Burton says.

Burton authored Senate Bill 1676, which sets a legal limit on delta-8 consumption to .5 milligrams per serving — or 2 milligrams of THC per container. It also adds oversight on labeling to prohibit delta-8 distributors from marketing to children.

“Floridians should feel safe with products sold in our state,” Burton said. “They deserve to have confidence knowing hemp extract products are not marketed in a way that be confusing or misleading especially for children who mistake them for candy.”

Business owners WEAR News has spoken with in the past say delta-8 is one of their top products.

“It’s a great alternative to people who can’t afford a medical card, which is why we opened this business to help people in the community.”


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