DeSantis Vetoes Bill That Would Have Banned Some Delta-8 THC Products

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On June 7, 2024, Governor DeSantis' vetoed controversial Senate Bill 1698 Food and Hemp Products. In vetoing SB 1698, Gov. DeSantis emphasized that "[w]hile Senate Bill 1698's goals...
United States Cannabis & Hemp
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On June 7, 2024, Governor DeSantis' vetoed controversial Senate Bill 1698 Food and Hemp Products. In vetoing SB 1698, Gov. DeSantis emphasized that "[w]hile Senate Bill 1698's goals are commendable, the bill would, in fact, impose debilitating regulatory burdens on small businesses and almost certainly fail to achieve its purposes." He further stated, "Senate Bill 1698 would introduce dramatic disruption and harm to many small retail and manufacturing businesses in Florida – businesses that have emerged due to recent legislation paving the way for commercial use of hemp."

SB 1698 was passed in late March near the end of the 2024 Legislation Session despite significant opposition from numerous hemp farmers and small business owners that sell and manufacture hemp-derived products. If enacted, SB 1698 would have prohibited the manufacture, delivery, holding, offering for sale, distribution, or sale of hemp extracts (i.e., hemp products intended for ingestion or inhalation) containing delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8 THC), among other ingredients. Additionally, SB 1698 would have revised the statutory definition of "hemp extract" as containing no more than a 0.3 percent total delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC) concentration, or if sold at retail, contain no more than, on a wet-weight basis, the lesser of 0.3 percent total delta-9 THC concentration or 5 milligrams per serving and 50 milligrams per container.

Despite this current veto, Gov. DeSantis did leave space for future prohibition and limitation of delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC. In fact, DeSantis' veto letter encouraged "the Florida Legislature to reconsider this topic during the next Legislative Session and engage with all relevant stakeholders to create a comprehensive regulatory framework for the manufacture and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products." DeSantis also highlighted that "[s]ensible, non-arbitrary regulation will provide businesses and consumers alike with much-needed stability — safeguarding public health and safety, allowing legitimate industry to flourish, and removing bad actors from the market."

Moreover, the veto letter offered a roadmap for a revamped bill, advising lawmakers to focus on quality control, retail sales and labeling, marketing, and packaging. For example, with quality control, DeSantis' suggested that future legislation should "include random, unannounced inspections, standardized and repeated testing, and dosing, packaging, and unit purchase caps that better correspond to the character of the products and their intoxicating capabilities."

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