Lawmakers in Florida say a new bill introduced Wednesday would tighten up regulation of Delta-8 THC in the Sunshine State, which CBD vendors currently sell with few restrictions.
The smokable and edible hemp-based Delta-8 THC products have become popular in the wake of the 2018 Farm Bill. Known colloquially as “diet weed,” the compound offers the benefits of a psychedelic high, similar to Delta-9 THC found in marijuana. But unlike Delta-9, which is limited to 0.3 percent by the Farm Bill when sold outside legal cannabis dispensaries, Delta-8 can be sold anywhere.
It won’t be that way for long in Florida if a bipartisan group of legislators have their way. House Bill 679 would require stores carrying Delta-8 products to register them with the state, and it’d also raise the legal age for adults wanting to purchase Delta-8 products from 18 years old to 21 years old.
“It’s important that we do it right and keep customers safe,” said state agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried. A former cannabis industry lobbyist, Fried added in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times that she welcomes the “clarity” offered by SB679.
Florida insiders say the bipartisan bill is a happy-medium between the strict THC crackdown that leading Republicans clamored for earlier this year and the more lenient policies that Democrats preferred. Conservatives back in the spring proposed but failed to pass a controversial bill reducing the maximum amount of Delta-9 THC in legal Florida marijuana to just 10 percent. HB679 also excludes cannabis measures that progressives have long wanted, including special workplace protections for cannabis patients.
If the bill eventually becomes law, Florida will join a host of other states that have cracked down on Delta-8 this year. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington have all passed regulations that limit Delta-8 or ban it completely.
HB679 also tackles a number of other industry issues in Florida, including doctor training and telehealth appointments. It’d also double the amount of time a medical cannabis patient card is valid — from one year to two years — and prevent cannabis companies from using their licenses solely for resale and profit-making.