Is Florida’s Hemp-Derived Products Industry on the Verge of Victory?
Followers of this blog are aware of the ongoing fight over hemp-derived products in the Florida legislature. Bills in the House of Representatives and Senate were filed that sought to severely limit the types and quantities of cannabinoids that could be contained in hemp-derived products. But that all changed today.
As a bit of background, House Representative William Robinson filed House Bill 1475 on March 3, 2023. It made its first stop in the legislature in the House’s Agriculture, Conservation, & Resiliency Subcommittee on March 27, and then was heard a second time by the House’s Agricultural and Natural Resources Appropriations Committee. The Bill received favorable votes out of both Subcommittees and is now headed to the Houses Infrastructure and Strategies Committee for a hearing on Monday, April 17 at 2:00pm.
Prior to this morning, the Bill contained language removing “synthetically derived cannabinoids” from the definition of “hemp” and “hemp extract”. For reference, “synthetically derived cannabinoids” were defined as: “any cannabinoid created by reacting a cannabis- or noncannabis- derived extract with solvent or acid to increase the concentration of a present cannabinoid or to create a new cannabinoid not originally found in the extract.”
Additionally, the previously drafted language of HB 1475 defined “total tetrahydrocannabinol” as: “the sum of all tetrahydrocannabinol isomers, with a concentration of more tetrahydrocannabinol-A multiplied by 0.877, in milligrams per gram multiplied by the labeled weight of the product.”
Products containing “hemp extract” were further restricted by stating that they could not “Exceed 0.5 milligrams total tetrahydrocannabinol per dose or 2 milligrams total tetrahydrocannabinol per container.”
Finally, previously drafted versions of the Bill stated the “tetrahydrocannabinol isomers to include in calculating total tetrahydrocannabinol, which must include, at a minimum, delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, delta-10 tetrahydrocannabinol, exotetrahydrocannabinol, and hexahydrocannabinol.”
If this were to be the case, manufacturers of products containing a variety of hemp-derived cannabinoids would have to cease operating in the Sunshine State. The Florida hemp industry answered the call to action and had numerous industry participants speak out in opposition to HB 1475. Chief in organizing and galvanizing the Florida hemp industry was the Florida Healthy Alternatives Association.
Representative Robinson heard the call of his opponents and filed an amendment to the Bill this morning. This amendment, which can be found here, removes two critical terms from its list of definitions. It removes the terms “synthetically derived cannabinoid” and “total tetrahydrocannabinol” from its list of defined terms. Both of these are significant steps forward for opponents of the Bill that were concerned about closing their operations due to their inability to manufacture hemp extract products in Florida. If passed, this amendment would allow a multi-billion-dollar industry that employs over 150,000 people to continue, reinforcing Governor DeSantis’ proclamation that “Florida is open for business”.
This is not to say the recently drafted amendment imposes no regulations on the manufacture and sale of these products. Subject to the amendment, products containing hemp extract which are intended for human ingestion or inhalation, including, but not limited to, snuff, chewing gum, and other smokeless products, may not be sold in Florida to persons under the age of 21.
Additionally, products containing hemp extract must be processed in state-permitted facilities and they must adhere to packaging and labeling requirements. Finally, the products cannot be manufactured or advertised in any manner that would be attractive to children.
As someone who was brought in to testify in opposition of this Bill twice before, it is refreshing to see that Representative Robinson listened to the voices of his constituents and industry participants and finally drafted sensible regulations for these products without regulating them (or their manufacturers) out of existence.
Now it is time to support Representative Robinson for his efforts. This can be done in person at Monday’s hearing or by contacting your Florida state Representative using this tool.
For any questions related to Florida’s hemp-derived products industry, or for any cannabis law questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Kight Law today.
April 14, 2023
This article was written by attorney Philip Snow. Kight Law represents hemp businesses in the US and throughout the world. To schedule a consultation please click here and mention this article.