In 2018, the US passed the Agricultural Improvement Act which finally legalized the regulated production of hemp throughout the country. Since then, countless of stakeholders have flocked to take advantage of the brand new agricultural commodity as the hemp industry quickly spread nationwide.
Today, hemp products are available almost everywhere, letting buyers get a hold of a variety of hemp-infused and hemp-derived goods at every turn. But are they legal in Florida? Here’s what you need to know.
On July first of 2019, a new law in the state of Florida removed CBD and other derivatives of hemp consisting of less than 0.3% THC from their list of controlled substances. This means that individuals within the state of Florida are free to sell, purchase, possess, and use hemp within the state’s borders.
But even then, there are a lot of gray areas in terms of the actual status of hemp products. Legality concerns also arise when talking of the use of hemp in public places, and the cultivation of hemp in private, residential or commercial properties.
Since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the use and possession of hemp has become completely legal. And that means you can smoke, buy, sell, and possess hemp without having to worry about running in with the law. It isn’t a controlled substance, so there aren’t any risks to using the herb in terms of legality.
On the other hand, there’s the issue of its close relation to marijuana. Hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis plant. But differences in the way they’re cultivated allowed farmers to minimize the presence of tetrahydrocannabidiol or THC in hemp chemistry.
Simply put, THC is the compound in marijuana that causes the experience of a high. With less than 0.3% of this found in hemp, the plant can’t cause the same altered state of cognition that makes marijuana a controlled substance in the first place. However, despite the differences in chemistry, both herbs look and smell exactly the same.
That said, law enforcers in the state of Florida are struggling to tell the two plants apart. As of writing, state law offices have advised law enforcement to look for other evidence of illegality before making any arrests regarding the public use or possession of marijuana, since both odor and appearance are no longer enough to establish a probable cause.
So, if you’re caught smoking or using hemp flower in Florida especially in public areas, law enforcement can’t make an arrest unless you yourself confess that the herb is marijuana. Otherwise, the state will have to send the samples to an accredited testing facility to determine its actual THC content.
Even then, anyone who doesn’t want to run in with the law should be careful of using hemp products and raw hemp flower in public. This should just make it easier for civilians and law enforcement to avoid unnecessary altercations and problems.
To be perfectly clear, hemp edibles are not legal anywhere in the United State, according to the FDA. That’s because CBD has not been approved as a food additive due to the lack of evidence to support its efficacy when consumed orally. In fact, the FDA doesn’t allow drug additives in food, even if those drugs have been previously approved as safe and effective.
But if that’s the case, why are hemp-infused edibles so widely available? While the FDA’s regulations are clear, it appears the administration itself isn’t too particular about upholding them. So, although hemp edibles remain illegal in the state of Florida and across the country, the lack of enforcement makes it possible for buyers and sellers to trade hemp-infused food and drink nonetheless.
Presently, the state of Florida has yet to decriminalize marijuana, so it’s important that hemp users stay particularly cautious of the public use of hemp and similar products. But if we’re speaking strictly of legality, if you’re certain that your product meets government standards on THC content, then you should be able to freely and confidently use hemp anywhere in the state without having to worry about the repercussions.