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Florida legislature votes down THC cap, struggles with other hemp and marijuana rules


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More legal changes are in store for the industrial hemp trade, this time at the state level in Florida.


Despite federal rules and guidance laid out since late 2018 on the status of industrial hemp, legislation at the Florida Senate has stalled amid partisan disputes and risks failing completely.


The disagreement centers on how heavily regulated hemp seeds will be before the Florida Agriculture Department grants licenses to around 3,000 growers this season, according to the Miami Herald. [2]


The original version of the bill would have required that seeds be sourced from approved providers whose seeds pass tests to prove they would not create “hot” hemp crops with too-high levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.


“My concern is changing rules mid-stream,” Sen. Bill Montford told the Miami Herald. [2] Montford’s bill faced opposition from House Republicans looking to liberalize the rules and let a greater number of seed manufacturers sell to licensed farms. [2]


“We’ve had conversations with [the Department of Agriculture] … we want to make sure those investments that have been made by our state universities, that there’s a return on that investment,” Rep. Ramon Alexander said this week, according to the Miami Herald. “There are a lot of unanswered questions. I do have significant concerns.” [2]


According to the Jacksonville Business Journal, the state’s supreme court will also hear arguments over a recreational marijuana constitutional amendment on May 6. [1]


At the end of the session, lawmakers also reportedly voted against a measure to limit the amount of THC in medical marijuana given to those of a certain age. [3]


The language of the bill referenced exorbitant THC levels reaching into the 30% range, reasoning that these should not be exposed to medical patients under 21.


The consideration was removed from a larger omnibus bill and ultimately abandoned on Friday. The Miami Herald said opponents of that provision cited medical marijuana’s usefulness for veterans returning home, many of whom would not meet the rule’s 21-year-old minimum. [3]


Sources

[1] https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2020/03/10/arguments-set-on-floridas-recreational-marijuana.html

[2] https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/hemp-war-sparks-fight-among-florida-lawmakers-its-all-over-seeds/ar-BB11bKm2

[3] https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/thc-cap-for-medical-marijuana-patients-under-21-dies-in-florida-house/ar-BB11ahl6

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