Their proposal also seeks to raise the legal age for buying CBD.
A bipartisan pair of Florida lawmakers has introduced a bill that would regulate delta-8 THC in the state and increase the legal age for buying CBD from 18 to 21. The bill also calls for updates to the state’s medical cannabis rules.
Restrictions on Delta-8 and CBD
The measure would broadly regulate all THC isomers, including delta-8, taking them out of the regulatory gray zone. Delta-8 has a chemical structure similar to the dominant form of naturally occurring THC, delta-9, and similar psychoactive effects. But as a hemp-derived form of THC, delta-8 is being sold legally in smoke shops and gas stations. Lawmakers across the nation are taking different approaches toward whether and how to regulate it.
In Florida, Democratic Rep. Andrew Learned and Republican Rep. Spencer Roach are giving it a go with House Bill 679, reports the Florida-focused policy news site Capital Soup. They introduced the bill Nov. 22.
The bill proposes “prohibiting the sale of hemp extract and hemp extract products intended for ingestion to persons under 21 years of age.” In other words, delta-8 and CBD products could only be sold to people age 21 and older in Florida.
Aa another news site, Florida Politics, put it “the bill would significantly tighten regulation of hemp extract products and add language clarifying such products intended for smoking or eating, including delta-8 flowers, oil and edibles, may not be sold to people under 21.”
“[T]he bill would significantly tighten regulation of hemp extract products and add language clarifying such products intended for smoking or eating, including delta-8 flowers, oil and edibles, may not be sold to people under 21.”
— Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics
Other Changes to Florida Cannabis Regulations
The lawmakers aim to cut costs for those participating in the medical cannabis program by lengthening the frequency between required doctor check ups and card renewals. The bill would also allow recertification via Telehealth.
More broadly, the bill calls for restrictions on cannabis-related advertising to children. It would prohibit dispensaries from flipping licenses for financial gain, and institute new testing standards to ensure that products being sold are safe.
“We are working to deliver significant cost savings for patients, make the program more user-friendly and at the same time ensure safety for both patients and our children,” Learned said.
Representative Roach added, “This is a true bipartisan effort to ensure patients have access to a safe medical marijuana program as demanded by an overwhelming majority of Florida voters in 2016, by putting common sense safeguards in place to develop standards, increase transparency, and keep MMJ [medical marijuana] products away from children.”
Reactions from Florida’s Hemp Industry
News station NBC2 gathered reactions to the news from Florida business owners in the hemp industry.
“From a financial standpoint, yes it does affect me as a business owner,” said Michael Jones owner of a Fort Myers vape shop. Jones also described himself as a fan and customer of delta-8 products.
Speaking of the proposed restrictions on hemp-derived products, Eli Joyce of Sunshine Cannabis told NBC2, “I’d like to see access increase and not more regulations.”
Another business owner had a different reaction.
“If it’s cleaning the industry and making it more professional, respectful and making sure that Florida can continue to have the industry successful then I’m all for it,” Cole Peacock, owner of Seed & Bean CBD coffee shop in Fort Myers, told NBC2.
Will the Bill Become Law?
Whether the bill will be approved remains a question. Florida Politics reporter Jesse Scheckner noted that it bears resemblance to failed proposals Roach had filed in the last session.
Stay tuned for more.