Lawmakers in Florida have shown their support for hemp by passing a bill that will allow the Florida agriculture department to draft rules regarding the state’s hemp program. Sponsored by Senator Rob Bradley, the Senate Bill 1050 is considered as a first step into recognizing hemp as a legal product in the state. According to Bradley, the Bill has nothing to do with marijuana since hemp is not smoked. In fact, if you do try it, you’ll end up with a headache because it will not make you high.
Promoting Industrial Hemp
According to Senator Bradley, the bill seeks to promote industrial hemp that can be used in producing a wide range of products, including personal care, cosmetics, food, clothing, fuel, fiber, and many more. Senator Gary Farmer has shown his support and has voted in favor of the bill.
Senator Bradley admitted that this is just the first step into the final product. He believes that there’s going to be a long discussion in the House on it. In fact, the final product could maybe look different than what it does today.
The committee for Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology unanimously voted the bill to push forward. A lot of officials consider hemp as a boon to the state’s agriculture industry, which has recently been plagued by citrus diseases and has been destroyed by the hurricanes.
The Federal Farm Bill of 2018
The 2018 Federal Farm Bill legalized hemp, yet, under Florida law, the substance is still illegal. It is now up to the legislature to draft the rules for the production and use of hemp in the state.
The bill provides blanket authority to the state’s agriculture department. However, Bradley admitted that he’s still trying to figure out how this issue can be best addressed.
He wants to know what the Agriculture Commissioner would see as a challenge and if there’s anything that can be embedded in statue instead of merely dealing with the rules. The Bill definitely leaves a lot of questions that the lawmakers need to sort out. One of the questions raised is whether hemp production should be left to growers in the industrial scale or is it possible to grow it in another backyard?
Where Does CBD Stand?
The biggest question centers around CBD which is derived from hemp. Hemp belongs to the cannabis plant, but unlike marijuana, hemp doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. It contains less than 0.3% of the psychoactive THC, which is why it will not trigger a feeling of high to the user.
As a matter of fact, CBD can be used for effective pain relief. Across the country, CBD products are now being sold in gas stations and supermarkets. However, according to the agriculture commissioner, the CBD is technically illegal in the state.
CBD is not legal in Florida right now and that’s why the commissioner is hoping that the legislation will allow the products to be sold in the market soon. He has been working with other lawmakers to change the definition of CBD and come up with their own CBD program in Florida.