Since the founding of our nation, our government has had to balance the necessity of oversight with the guarantees of freedom for citizens to conduct their business in a free market. Here in the state of Florida, our state government is attempting to achieve this balance for consumers in a new industry on the rise, Industrial Hemp.
Last year, state legislators passed Senate Bill 1020 establishing a State Hemp Program, "within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; requiring licensees to use specified hemp seeds and cultivars; revising the colleges and universities at which the department is required to authorize and oversee the development of industrial hemp pilot projects; removing a condition for the implementation of industrial hemp commercialization projects, etc."
CBD products (derived from hemp) throughout the state of Florida have recently been put under new regulations with the goal of ensuring protection from consumers. CBD products have been a lucrative business opportunity for many Floridians over the last few years.
CBD products come in a vast array of varieties from chocolates to oils. Marketers and retailers for CBD products claim a number of benefits from CBD products, including lowering anxiety, combating insomnia, and even soothing the effects of arthritis.
CBD is one of the many products derived from hemp, which grows from the cannabis plant but differs from marijuana based on the concentration of THC. For more information on the difference between marijuana and hemp, click here.
Over the last few years, CBD was considered to be in a legal "gray area" and thus was not subject to governmental regulation. Florida lawmakers have now reversed this, and appointed Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to ensure that CBD products are properly regulated.
“Prior to these rules being adopted and taking effect, we didn’t have regulatory authority. Now we do, and we have that up and going so that we can make sure consumers are protected." said Holly Bell, Florida's Director of Cannabis.
These new regulations began to take effect on the 1st of January, 2020. Inspectors under Fried have been traveling to CBD retailers throughout the state and ensuring that they meet the new legal standards for CBD products. These rules envelop many aspects of the CBD products, including production, labeling, and selling.
"(Inspectors) are going out, looking at what’s on the shelf and if you are not compliant with those labeling laws, you will be given a certain amount of time to become compliant,” Bell said.
These regulations should help ensure both quality and safety for CBD consumers throughout the state, but they may also prove to be a challenge for smaller CBD businesses.
As many prominent Floridian business owners and lawmakers attempt to build a booming and healthy hemp industry here in our state, the new regulations are an important step signaling a dedication to the safety of consumers.
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