Big win for Florida hemp industry as governor vetoes proposed ban

Wondering where hemp-derived cannabinoids are legal in the United States? Check out MJBizDaily‘s new delta-8 THC map.

In a major win for the state’s hemp industry and a setback for regulated marijuana, Florida’s governor vetoed a bill that would have effectively outlawed many popular hemp-derived products in the market.

In his veto message Friday, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis wrote that the bill’s “goals are commendable,” but it would “impose debilitating regulatory burdens on small businesses and almost certainly fail to achieve its purposes.”

Passed by the state Legislature  in March, Senate Bill 1698 would have limited the amount of hemp-derived delta-9 THC allowed in products to no more than 5 milligrams per serving or 50 milligrams per container.

The measure also would have:

  • Closed a so-called “loophole” by redefining total delta-9 THC concentration under state law to also include THCA, a naturally occurring, nonintoxicating cannabinoid that becomes psychoactive THC when heated.
  • Prohibited “any quantity” of “synthetic cannabinoids,” including delta-8 and delta-10 THC.

The Florida hemp industry aggressively lobbied DeSantis to veto the bill, including buying billboard space near the governor’s mansion, according to Politico.

Since the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill legalized hemp production nationwide, hemp-derived cannabinoid products have emerged as an alluring alternative to marijuana and are viewed by the MJ industry as an unwelcome and unruly competitor playing by different rules.

As a result, many states have taken action to regulate hemp-derived products or, in the case of 12 markets, ban delta-8 THC outright.

DeSantis’ veto comes ahead of Florida’s November vote to legalize adult-use marijuana.

Both DeSantis and Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott have gone on record opposing Florida’s adult-use ballot measure.