Florida State Lawmakers Take Aim at Restricting THC Levels in Hemp-Derived Products Once Again

Florida State Lawmakers Take Aim at Restricting THC Levels in Hemp-Derived Products Once Again

On Tuesday, the state Senate unanimously approved a measure that would severely limit the THC levels in products derived from legal hemp.



In nature, the most efficient way for apex predators like wolves, lions, and orcas to subdue and overpower their prey is by creating panic within the herd. Most American grey wolves barely weigh one hundred pounds, yet they routinely feast on animals 10 to 20 times their size (buffalo, elk). To accomplish that perilous and incredible feat, the wolves use their collective ability to spook the beasts, fostering a scene of instant chaos and fear within the massive group.


However, these tactics don’t just work on animals farther down the food chain. Politicians and corporate predators also use them quite deftly and successfully on human beings daily.


This blog is not the appropriate forum to discuss the wrong-headed moves and dubious tactics used by global leaders, medical professionals, mainstream media, and corporate boardrooms to manipulate the masses to endure useless lockdowns, paradoxically baffling mask-wearing rules and a wide range of other strange and suspicious behaviors mandated during the COVID-19 lockdowns. 


Yet, many of those tactics used to mobilize billions of humans to engage in ridiculous rituals during that period were not that different from a pack of wolves terrorizing a herd of buffalo to isolate a weak member and feast on it. When mammals fear for their lives, they typically respond with a fight-or-flight reaction. 


In the case of COVID, fighting back wasn’t really an option due to the severe and violent nature of the ever-growing police state Americans must endure these days. So, fear took hold, and people began injecting themselves with bleach, wearing masks in their cars while driving alone, and a host of other bizarre and illogical activities. 


And if there is one thing apex predators do better than any of their weaker competitors, it is to learn what works and keep doing it until it doesn’t. Flash forward to the enigmatic and equally crazy state of Florida, where politicians are using fear to justify damaging and dubious legislation. 


As first reported by Marijuana Moment, lawmakers in the Sunshine State are once again going after the legal and financially successful hemp industry over THC levels in specific hemp-derived products.


According to details emerging from the proceedings, this past Tuesday, despite heavy and vocal opposition from hemp industry advocates and stakeholders, the state Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved a measure (SB 1698) that would impose severe restrictions on the THC levels contained within hemp-derived product offerings sold in the state.


The bill’s sponsor is Polk County Republican Colleen Burton, who also led a legislative push last year to impose similar limits on hemp items. Ultimately, that effort fell short. However, lawmakers at the time promised to revisit the issue in 2024, and less than a month into the new year, Burton and her minions are back at it.


Burton’s measure would make several changes to the current hemp law, including:


  • Setting hemp-derived THC limits to not exceed 2 milligrams per serving and 10 milligrams per package.
  • The prohibition of “attractive to children” packaging, such as containers displaying toys, animations, novel shapes, promotional characters, licensed characters, or other features that target kids. 
  • Requiring organizers of hemp events to provide the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services with a list of the businesses selling or marketing hemp extract products at the event and verify that each company only sells hemp products from an approved source.
  • Only hemp extract that meets several state requirements may be manufactured, delivered, held, offered for sale, distributed, or sold in Florida. 

During the committee hearing, Dr. Justin Arnold, the Florida Poison Information Center medical director based in Tampa, spoke in support of the proposed legislative changes. In his testimony, Arnold said the bill would have “a lasting and life-saving impact on Floridians across the state.” He also described how, in the past few years, the state’s three poison control centers “have watched exposures to hemp extracts result in more harm than ever, particularly in our children.”


However, the overwhelming majority of public speakers in attendance attacked and destroyed the measure, saying it would severely cripple the fledgling Florida hemp industry and imploring Senate leaders to kill it. 


One of those passionate speakers was Vinnie Seudath from the company Kushy Pies. He called the effort on the part of lawmakers to limit the THC dosage levels in hemp products “arbitrary.”


He went on further to say, “These limits would put a significant burden on businesses and stakeholders in the hemp industry. [Regulating] such products would increase the production costs, limit the product options for consumers and hinder the growth of the hemp market, ultimately having a negative impact on the economic opportunities and consumer choice.”


"These limits would put a significant burden on businesses and stakeholders in the hemp industry. [Regulating] such products would increase the production costs, limit the product options for consumers and hinder the growth of the hemp market, ultimately having a negative impact on the economic opportunities and consumer choice."

- Vinnie Seudath, Owner of Kushy Pies


Burton scoffed at the notion that her measure would have devastating effects on the hemp industry, emphasizing that it was the state legislature’s job to protect the safety of all Floridians (children and adults) and that obligation superseded the profit and loss concerns of the hemp industry.


“We have a greater obligation to the health and safety of Floridians than to business models that are currently undertaken here in Florida,” she said.


"We have a greater obligation to the health and safety of Floridians than to business models that are currently undertaken here in Florida."

- Florida State Senator Colleen Burton (R-Polk)


It is uncertain if the entire State House shares her somewhat naive and disingenuous calls for human safety over business concerns. For many hemp industry watchers, the actions on the part of Burton and her cohorts reek of special interest lobbying and money. With the pathway now clear for voters to decide on an adult-use legalization ballot initiative this coming Election Day, the timing of this renewed effort to “save the children” seems suspicious at best. 


However, the hemp industry will not take this latest attack lying down. Vocal and passionate leaders within the industry have already proven their ability to organize and rebuff a previous attempt to hobble their magical flower. They may have lost this latest round, but the fight is far from over.