Florida Governor Plans to Veto Bill Banning Intoxicating Hemp Derivatives in a Perplexing Twist to the Ongoing Civil War Between Hemp and Cannabis

Florida Governor Plans to Veto Bill Banning Intoxicating Hemp Derivatives in a Perplexing Twist to the Ongoing Civil War Between Hemp and Cannabis

Researchers plan new study to determine exactly how CBD affects anxiety and sleep Reading Florida Governor Plans to Veto Bill Banning Intoxicating Hemp Derivatives in a Perplexing Twist to the Ongoing Civil War Between Hemp and Cannabis 5 minutes Next Louisiana Senate Opts for Restrictions of Intoxicating Hemp Derivatives Over an Outright Ban

According to political insiders, the governor's move is part of a larger strategy to motivate hemp stakeholders to help fund Desantis' effort to defeat a cannabis legalization ballot initiative going before voters this November.


The blood feud between competing hemp and cannabis interests continues to play out in state legislatures, courtrooms, and the media nationwide. As more and more states contemplate cannabis reform legislation, others are simultaneously attempting to or actively banning products containing intoxicating hemp derivatives (IHDs).


With billions of dollars at stake, lobbying groups on both sides of the toxic civil war between the sister plants are feverishly attempting to thwart the existential threat each side poses to the other. One state, in particular, Florida, is currently amid a battle royale over the legality of both IHDs and recreational cannabis sales.


This past April, the Florida State Supreme Court ruled that a predominantly cannabis industry-funded ballot measure to legalize adult-use cannabis would be allowed to appear on the ballot this coming November. 


Despite an attempt by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody to invalidate the ballot initiative last fall, the state justices ruled in a 5-2 decision that the proposed ballot measure "conforms" to state constitutional requirements. As part of their ruling, the justices wrote, "In light of those limited considerations, we approve the proposed amendment for placement on the ballot."


"In light of those limited considerations, we approve the proposed amendment for placement on the ballot."

- Florida Supreme Court Ruling on Cannabis Legalization Initiative


During that same time, state lawmakers were also working on a bill to ban the state's primarily misunderstood and much-maligned IHD product market. In March, the Florida State Legislature passed a measure prohibiting IHDs like delta-8 THC, delta-10 THC, and several others to crack down on the wildly popular and enigmatic hemp-based cannabinoids.


Now, as the calendar swiftly moves into June, Governor Ron Desantis (R), a fierce opponent of the cannabis legalization ballot initiative, is attempting to use his executive veto power to once again pit hemp and cannabis interests against each other for his own political agenda. 


As first reported by Marijuana Moment, the governor is reportedly planning to veto the polarizing IHD ban in an apparent attempt to motivate hemp industry interests to help finance a campaign opposing the marijuana legalization effort.


Officials close to the governor, who spoke anonymously to CBS News, say Desantis hopes to leverage hemp stakeholders' economic interests in the IHD market to convince Floridians to vote against the cannabis reform.


The move comes as a massive and unexpected shock to the Big Cannabis lobby in Florida. According to one unnamed source, "He's going to veto. "The marijuana people are furious, and they are scrambling."


"He's going to veto. "The marijuana people are furious, and they are scrambling."

- Anonymous Source Close to Florida Governor Ron Desantis (R)


Their confusion and dismay stem from the paradoxical logic behind the governor's head-scratching and risky move. In the past, Desantis has raised loud concerns regarding access to high-potency THC products as a primary reason for his opposition to cannabis legalization. Yet, now he seems more than willing to veto a bill that would essentially eliminate an existing, mostly unregulated market sector for IHD products.


That same unnamed source shared, "It doesn't make sense unless you are looking for money from the hemp industry."


"It doesn't make sense unless you are looking for money from the hemp industry."

- Anonymous Source Close to Florida Governor Ron Desantis (R)


That hopeful outcome is precisely what the governor wants to achieve with this unorthodox approach. However, the strategy could backfire if the hemp industry doesn't take Desantis' cue and help fund his opposition campaign. 


While it is true that several Republican lawmakers who actively oppose the bill banning IHDs have close ties to the hemp industry, there is no guarantee those relationships will translate into donations from hemp interests. 


Likewise, a recent  USA Today/Ipsos survey indicated that only 56% of registered Florida voters support the ballot initiative (60% is required for approval), with 40% opposing it. Thus, the measure may not have enough votes to pass regardless of what Desantis does or does not do regarding the IHD ban. 


However, for Desantis, the margins may be too slim to take a chance. The governor may be hedging his bets by vetoing the IHD legislation and firmly aligning himself with the hemp lobby. The move could also be part of a larger strategy first to take down legalized adult-use cannabis before revisiting the IHD ban at a later date. 


No matter what happens between now and November, one glaring fact is inevitable – the civil war between hemp and cannabis is still waging. And the damage it is doing to both plant industries could be irreparable unless they can achieve a reasonable and common-sense coexistence.