Florida closes in on banning delta-8 Hemp products

Image
Florida closes in on banning delta-8 Hemp products

Here’s what you need to know about delta-8 in Florida and the bills that would ban it.

Florida lawmakers are just a step away from banning delta-8 products, like edible gummies, vapes and joints that can create a psychoactive high in its users.

Florida senators on Thursday unanimously passed a bill that would exclude synthetic or naturally occurring delta-8 and delta-10 from being legally sold as hemp products. An identical House bill is also headed toward a full chamber vote.

Here’s what you need to know about the proposals.

What is delta-8?

The cannabis plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids, or compounds.

The most well-known of those is delta-9, which is what marijuana users typically think of as THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, and is the component that creates a “high” sensation for marijuana users.

Delta-8, as well as delta-10, are other naturally occurring THC compounds similar to delta-9. Delta-8 can also create a psychoactive effect, but is typically less potent than delta-9.

Delta-8 gummies, tinctures, vapes and other products are sold online and at retail stores, smoke shops and gas stations throughout Florida.

What are the concerns about delta-8?

The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated delta-8 for safety and has expressed concern about how it is being processed.

Because the natural amount of delta-8 in hemp is low, producers may use a chemical process to convert other cannabinoids, like CBD, into delta-8, the FDA says.

The FDA said there are concerns about potential contaminants introduced through that synthetic process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expressed similar concern about contaminants in a 2021 public health notice.

The CDC, in its notice, also expressed concern that consumers seeking mild products like CBD may be confused by or unprepared for delta-8 products and their effects.

Seventeen states have banned delta-8, and seven others have severely restricted its use, according to the National Cannabis Industry Association.

What do the bills propose?

Along with excluding delta-8 and delta-10 from being categorized as hemp products, the bills, HB 1613 and SB 1698, would cap the strength of hemp products to no more than two milligrams of delta-9 THC per serving and no more than 10 milligrams of THC per package.

It would also prohibit flavoring from being added to any hemp vapes, to try to make hemp products less attractive to children.

It would also require that the national poison control hotline number be printed on the packaging of hemp products. And it allocates $2 million to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to buy testing equipment.

Why is delta-8 treated differently than delta-9?

The delta-8 market is a relatively new phenomenon, as is the hemp industry as a whole. In 2018, the U.S. Congress passed the Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and defined it as a cannabis plant that has less than 0.3% delta-9 THC. But that federal bill left the door open on how much delta-8 THC could be in hemp products.

What do opponents and proponents think of the bill?

House bill sponsor Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Lakewood Ranch, has said his legislation is a consumer protection tool, pointing to an increase in calls to the poison control line about hemp ingestion.

But business owners have decried the legislation, saying the restrictions are overly broad and could effectively dismantle much of Florida’s hemp industry. Michael Pool, who owns a store that sells hemp products in Tampa, said the THC limits could affect even products that cause no psychoactive effect.

Some consumers have told lawmakers that hemp products have been instrumental in managing their physical pain and have allowed them to avoid prescription drug use.

One woman who said she uses hemp products to manage her epilepsy told lawmakers that if hemp products were banned, users would have to go to the medical marijuana market. She expressed concern about being put on a registry for something that still violates federal law.

Rep. Hillary Cassel, D-Dania Beach, said that regulations that dismantle the hemp industry are often done to eliminate competition for recreational marijuana, which Floridians could enact through an amendment that may appear on the 2024 ballot.

The Florida Supreme Court has not yet ruled on whether that amendment can stand, but justices cast doubt on the state’s argument trying to disqualify it.

For more Cannabis News like this, circle back to 420intel.com!

420 Intel News | 420 Advertising | Cannabis Business News | Medical Marijuana News | Recreational Marijuana News

Region: Florida

Poll

Hand on heart – are you wearing pajamas right now?

Choices

Disqus content widget