DeSantis Defends Florida's Hemp Industry

DeSantis Defends Florida’s Hemp Industry with Crucial Veto

Floridians involved with the hemp industry can breathe a sigh of relief after Governor Ron DeSantis vetoes the bill that would have effectively killed the hemp industry in Florida. By vetoing Senate Bill 1698, DeSantis has delivered an unexpected lifeline to Florida’s hemp industry— including countless small businesses, employees, and consumers.

Despite the bill’s unanimous passage in the Senate and overwhelming support in the House, DeSantis disagrees.

In the weeks before the decision, his office received over 13,000 calls, emails, and letters from concerned citizens and industry stakeholders urging him to reject the bill. Their voices were heard, and their efforts were rewarded.

DeSantis believes that regulation in this industry needs to be balanced. There is no situation where sacrificing a thriving industry is the answer to the concerns of the bill’s proponents, citing the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids and access to THC alternatives.

The decision is somewhat unexpected, although it definitely brings relief. It’s not too often that vetoes come into play. However, it’s a welcome development for the hemp farmers, business owners, and consumers who have been bracing for the worst since it passed unanimously in the Senate a few weeks ago.

What's Happening?

The proposed legislation would have imposed debilitating restrictions on the production and sale of hemp-based products, including the popular delta-8 and delta-9 THC cannabinoids.

These products have become essential to many Floridians without their marijuana cards, offering an alternative to traditional medications when medical marijuana isn’t accessible. The industry has also created thousands of jobs and positively stimulated the economy in Florida— all of which would have gone up in smoke without this decision to veto it.

SB 1698 would have banned delta-8 THC products, reworked and limited delta-9 THC content, and drastically changed what kind of products hemp businesses could sell. As a result, many argued that the move would cripple small businesses and cost thousands of jobs.

DeSantis was on the same page as the people this time.

In his veto message, he acknowledged the bill’s commendable goals but argued that it would “impose debilitating regulatory burdens on small businesses” and “introduce dramatic disruption and harm to many small retail and manufacturing businesses in Florida.” His decision reflects a deep understanding of the industry’s importance and the need for regulations that support, rather than stifle economic growth.

Florida Healthy

The Florida Healthy Alternatives Association

The Florida Healthy Alternatives Association, a key player in the fight against the bill, praised DeSantis for his support.

“The Legislature heard our concerns but didn’t fully appreciate the impact of their legislation. Governor DeSantis understands that everyday Floridians rely on hemp and CBD products to stay away from harmful and addictive medications and that thousands of Floridians have built local businesses to serve this critical need,” the association said in a prepared statement.

In his veto letter, DeSantis suggests that they try again in the next session but with more knowledge on the subject. He urged lawmakers to sit down and meet with the relevant stakeholders and to hear everyone’s voice before creating any type of regulatory framework. He suggests regulations that emphasize quality control, retail sales and labeling, marketing, and packaging, for starters.

“Sensible, 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,” he wrote.

DeSantis also recommended measures such as random inspections, standardized testing, and appropriate packaging and dosing requirements to ensure the safety and quality of hemp products.

One of his other suggestions comes from the belief that hemp-derived cannabinoids should be sold behind the counter and that retail shops be distanced from schools and other family-oriented locations to help prevent these products from falling into the wrong hands.

“These shops should not present themselves as medical offices, and the Legislature should consider measures to prevent the ubiquity and concentration of these retail locations in communities across the state,” DeSantis added.

This decision comes at a pivotal moment for Florida

This decision comes at a pivotal moment for Florida, too. With this hemp-killing bill, there was quite a bit of drama between legislators and people who believed that killing the hemp industry was a strategic move to make room for recreational weed, which would essentially be controlled by cannabis companies operating in different states.

It felt like a cash grab that held every person involved with the hemp industry in the balance. The emotional response to the veto can’t be overstated. It’s a political win for people relying on the hemp industry, as well as a validation of their dedication to making their voices heard.
Florida will vote on a constitutional amendment that would allow recreational marijuana in November.

Governor DeSantis’ Takes Stand Against Rushed Recreational Marijuana Legislation

While Governor DeSantis has been extremely vocal in his opposition to recreational cannabis and the negative impact it may have on Florida, his support for sensible hemp regulation is a welcome surprise. Taking a nuanced approach to this brand new industry, where every state is actively struggling to reinvent the wheel and balance hemp and cannabis, means looking at it from all angles— economic growth, as well as public health and safety.

While the hemp industry will likely be challenged again next session, this political victory makes the path forward clearer. For now, the veto of SB 1698 ensures that the hemp products Floridians have come to rely on will remain available, preserving the livelihood of many and supporting an industry that has become a vital part of the state’s economy.

We’re hoping that next session, the legislature will be more encompassing and written to support small businesses, regulate to safeguard the public

1 thought on “DeSantis Defends Florida’s Hemp Industry with Crucial Veto”

  1. It would be nice to allow an adult responsible over 21 to purchase a clone or two for their own growth just like any other vegetable plant or herbs that are allowed to grow in a healthy environment for us to use for personal use only

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Florida Dispensaries