A lot of things have changed over the last few years in Florida concerning medical marijuana and the growing of hemp. Keep in mind, there is a difference between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is a variety of Cannabis that contains less than 0.3% or less of THC content by dry weight. THC is the component in marijuana that gets you high.
In 2018 the Federal Government passed a new Farm Bill which allows states to create a hemp regulatory program that meets certain regulatory criteria. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is currently reviewing the Farm Bill requirements and working quickly to submit the required regulatory plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approval. FDACS is also working with the Florida Legislature to ensure that hemp and CBD (cannabidiol) products produced from hemp under an approved regulatory plan will comply with all Florida statutes and ensure consumer protection. Florida put out the following video explaining some of the things they are doing:
Nikki Fried, Commissioner of Florida’s Department of Agriculture is crisscrossing the state in an effort to educate farmers and consumers.
Can you plant hemp now? Nope. The 2018 Farm Bill, which authorizes states to adopt hemp cultivation programs, requires FDACS to issue cultivation permits. Before these permits can be issued, the Governor must sign Florida’s hemp bill into law and FDACS must complete the rulemaking to create the permitting process. Only then can producers apply for a hemp cultivation permit.
Can CBD products be sold now? Nope. Currently, CBD products are being sold illegally across the state. The products being sold are unregulated, untested, and without standards as to what consumers are putting into their bodies. However, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is declining to send cease and decease letters to CBD retailers due to the fact that a new hemp law will take effect very shortly.
Once the Florida hemp program takes effect, CBD products will be fully tested, regulated, and approved as safe for consumption. If CBD producers fail to comply with those safety standards, at that time FDACS may issue cease-and-desist letters to protect consumers from unsafe products.
Until then, buyers beware.