Florida Starts Regulating Local CBD Businesses

Even if you haven’t used it, you have undoubtedly heard of cannabidiol or CBD as it’s commonly known. The hemp extract has taken the world by storm, with the medical, cosmetics, health and wellness communities being especially captivated. CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids produced by hemp, and as is common to cannabinoids, it is flush with potent medicinal properties.

Cannabidiol was legalized when Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, legislation that decriminalized the cultivation and sale of hemp and its extracts. In the year since, CBD has blown up, with thousands of CBD products lining the shelves of everything from gas stations and dispensaries to large retail malls.

The landscape is a little more complicated in Florida since the state had allowed CBD use within its borders long before Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill. Back in 2014, the Florida legislature passed SB1030, legislation that created a registry system for patients suffering from seizures, cancer, and certain muscle spasms to possess and use CBD with a doctor’s prescription.

Later in 2016, an amendment expanded the number of illnesses that were eligible for cannabidiol treatment. This was aimed at normalizing CBD and to allow more businesses to join the CBD bandwagon.

Starting January 1, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services began tracking and regulating CBD and hemp products. Any business that manufactures, processes, packs, holds, prepares or sells any food containing a hemp extract is required to have a Hemp Food Establishment Permit.

Before this, non-prescription CBD products of all sorts were sold in the state without any oversight. Most law enforcement entities, as well as Florida’s Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner and health officials, had insisted that non-euphoric cannabis products like CBD existed in a legal gray area, and this made it difficult for regulators to police CBD.

“Prior to these rules being adopted and taking effect, we didn’t have regulatory authority. Now we do, and we have that up and going so we can make sure consumers are protected,” says Holly Bell, Agriculture Commissioner.

The commissioner’s inspectors spread across the state, making sure CBD retailers comply with the new rules that address pesticides, labeling and whether the products sold or produced in the state were inspected.

“Inspectors are going out, looking at what’s on the shelf and if you’re not compliant with those labeling laws, you’ll be given a certain amount of time to become compliant,” says Bell.

The permit costs $650 per year. It is believed that while efforts to enact state-level CBD regulations are welcome, sector players like MCTC Holdings Inc. (OTC: MCTC) would be more comfortable with federal guidelines for the industry.

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