Fresh From Florida, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Pembroke Pines, Fla. — Today, Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried joined key Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services officials to host the first public hemp rulemaking workshop at Broward College in Pembroke Pines.
"The upcoming state hemp program marks a new industrial revolution — after eighty years of stalled progress, we can finally put hemp to work for farmers, entrepreneurs, and consumers here in Florida," said Commissioner Nikki Fried."Our Department is working swiftly to ensure the program's rules will be inclusive for everyone who wants to be involved with Florida hemp. Today's public participation, questions, and feedback are a critical part of making Florida a national leader in hemp."
Shawn Mulcahy, WFSU Public Media
The Florida Agriculture Department has released its first draft of proposed rules for a state hemp program. This comes ahead of hemp rulemaking workshops beginning later this week.
The draft lays out testing and purity standards for growers and packaging and labeling requirements for food containing hemp or its extract, CBD. Hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC, the high-inducing ingredient found in marijuana.
While some members expressed concern about patients smoking medical marijuana, the Florida Board of Medicine has approved forms for doctors to use in ordering smokable pot.
The board Friday agreed to change its medical-marijuana rules so that physicians can certify that the benefits of smoking marijuana for medical use outweigh the risks. It also agreed to change mandatory informed-consent forms that physicians and patients must fill out together.
By Jim Rosica
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has released the names on her newly created Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee, which will “help improve the state’s medical marijuana policies,” she said in a statement.
“I’m proud to establish the advisory committee to help expand patient access and to advance and modernize policies to move Florida into the future of medical marijuana,” Fried said. Some names had leaked out recently on social media.
Her new Cannabis Director, Holly Bell, will be in charge of overseeing the committee’s work.
“This is a plant that not only improves people’s quality of life, it’s an alternative to sometimes-dangerous pharmaceuticals and addictive opioids,” said Fried, a former medical marijuana lobbyist. “It’s a medicine that an overwhelming majority of Floridians came together for, calling for constitutionally guaranteed access.”
The new 18-member committee “will convene telephonically and in-person bimonthly to work through ways to expand patient access, increase innovation and technology in the industry, and make recommendations to the Legislature and the Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use to improve Florida’s medical marijuana policies and programs,” the commissioner added.
From his seat on the U.S. House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., helped amend a funding bill to aid veterans who are using medical marijuana and to boost legal marijuana businesses’ access to banks.
Back in March, Crist unveiled the “Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act,” a proposal to “remove limitations on federal employment for an individual legally using marijuana under the law of the state in which the individual resides, and for other purposes.” Republican U.S. Reps. Don Young of Alaska and Matt Gaetz of Florida were among the first nine cosponsors.
The Pinellas County Democrat’s office insisted the bill will “protect veterans’ cannabis treatment options and their ability to be employed by the federal government and noted, under current law, “use of marijuana by federal employees is prohibited by law and any use is cause for termination.”
Crist stressed that his proposal would help veterans.
An appeals court refused Tuesday to reconsider its decision rejecting arguments that prominent Tampa strip-club owner Joe Redner should be able to grow his own medical marijuana to help fight lung cancer.
The 1st District Court of Appeal issued a one-page order turning down Redner’s request for a rehearing or for the full appeals court to take up the case.
The Transportation Security Administration has changed its cannabis policy to allow passengers to travel with some forms of CBD oil and a drug derived from marijuana that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
All forms of marijuana were previously prohibited in carry-on bags and checked luggage. On Sunday, TSA updated its "What Can I bring?" guidance under medical marijuana. The FDA in June legalized a drug called Epidiolex, which is used to treat epilepsy in children. The TSA said in a statement that it was recently made aware of the drug and updated the regulations to avoid confusion on whether families can bring it when traveling.
The new policy also includes some CBD oil, "as long as it is produced within the regulations defined by the law" under the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and hemp derivatives. Hemp-derived CBD is low in or has no THC, the chemical that produces a high found in marijuana.
The TSA's new rules still ban other forms of marijuana, including CBD oils that have THC, and cannabis-infused products that are still illegal under federal law.
It's not clear how agents will determine the difference. But while agents screen for potential threats to planes and passengers, they do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs. If they come across anything suspect, they refer it to law enforcement.
According to Forbes, the Marijuana industry added 64,000 jobs last year and is expected to create another 20,000 this year in just California and Florida.
In 2018, Florida added more than 9,000 Cannabis related jobs the most of any state.
This is accredited to the jump in medical Marijuana patients in our state, which increased by 100,000 people in just one year.
By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
Business leaders and entrepreneurs in the state’s capital city got an update on the roll out of a hemp industry from the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Director of Cannabis Holly Bell. Bell is optimistic a program will be in place by the end of the year.
Florida farmers, investors and entrepreneurs all have their eyes on hemp.
“It's safer and it's extremely durable, too, if you were to talk about clothing, infrastructure and building,” said Braden Ward, a senior at Florida Southern College.
Ward drove three hours to hear from Bell on how the hemp industry will look in Florida.
“What's upcoming in the future for us to try and invest in, if that be the case,” said Ward.
The hemp bill passed in May will officially legalize hemp and its byproducts, like CBD, in Florida. It’s expected to be a multi-billion dollar industry.
“Industrial hemp has 25,000 known uses today,” said Bell.
In addition to the numerous uses, supporters also hope hemp will become a supplemental crop for Panhandle farmers hit hard by Hurricane Michael.