Laws and regulations relating to hemp and medical marijuana are complicated and continuously changing. Currently, federal law is in conflict with Florida state law; and, even some of the municipality and county ordinances are sometimes in conflict with Florida state law. While the below answers provide some brief insight into the below questions, it is important to contact us if you are looking for a more detailed and thorough explanation to properly assess the risks and opportunities. We look forward to hearing from you!
Is it legal to sell CBD products in Florida?
The legality of CBD is still in the gray area. There are essentially three main legal authorities that need to be considered when determining whether CBD is legal in Florida: federal statutory law, Florida state statutory law, and FDA regulations. From a federal statutory perspective, the 2018 Farm Bill included CBD within its definition of legal hemp as long as the hemp in which the CBD is derived contains no more than 0.3% THC. From a Florida state statutory perspective, Senate Bill 1020 passed in Florida’s 2019 Legislative Session, which legalized CBD from a statute statutory perspective. Nonetheless, the Food and Drug Administration still does not authorize CBD to be sold as a dietary supplement or food additive and has come out with several statements regarding what can be included for labeling and marketing of CBD products. Thus, until the FDA further clarifies its position on hemp-derived CBD, hemp-derived CBD businesses will need to weigh the risks and benefits of conducting their CBD business.
Is it legal to grow hemp in Florida?
The 2014 Farm Bill permitted states to start a hemp pilot program. Pursuant to Florida’s hemp pilot program, the industrial hemp planting permits are available only to UF and FAMU. The 2018 Farm Bill has permitted the states to create their own hemp programs to be submitted to the USDA for approval. Once the program is submitted by Florida and approved by the USDA, the Department of Agriculture will start accepting applications for licenses to grow hemp. Until such licenses are granted, however, only UF and FAMU are permitted to grow hemp pursuant to Florida’s hemp pilot program. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about the steps you can be taking now to be ready for 2020 growing season!
What do I need to do to get a license to grow hemp in the state of Florida?
As stated above, only UF and FAMU are legally allowed to grow hemp in the state of Florida pursuant to the hemp pilot program. Pursuant to the 2018 Farm Bill, Florida will likely submit its program to the USDA by the end of August 2019. Hopefully, the USDA will approve such program by the end of 2019. Once Florida’s program is approved by the USDA, you will need to submit an application to the Department of Agriculture. Nikki Fried, the Commissioner of Florida’s Department of Agriculture, has publicly stated that the approval process will be very lenient. Commission Fried’s intent is to allow farmers to grow hemp if that is what they want to do. There will be very little barrier’s to entry. So, if you are thinking about growing hemp in Florida, we suggest you start taking the necessary steps to be ready for the 2020 growing season. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about the steps you can be taking now to be ready for 2020 growing season!
What are the different markets and uses for hemp-based products?
Hemp is an extremely versatile plant. There may be over 50,000 uses for the hemp plant. Below is a brief list of some of the different uses for each part of the hemp plant. There are benefits and challenges to each of these uses. Contact us to discuss which of these uses would best suit your operations.
- Hemp Seed – Most of the seeds value is found by dehulling the whole seed or crushing it for its oil. Due to hemp oils high content of essential fatty acids, it can be sold into all of the following markets: nutritional supplements, food, cosmetics and personal care, animal feed, and protein flours and powders. The hemp oil can also be used for industrial uses like varnishes, cleansers, inks, paints, and coatings.
- Hemp Flower – Hemp flowers can be processed/extracted for phytocannabinoids including CBD, CBG, CBN, and terpenes. Each of these phytocannabinoids can be made into various products including topicals, tinctures, edibles, and vaporized oil. CBD is the single largest market for the hemp plant.
- Hemp Hurd – Hemp hurd is the woody inner core. The hemp hurd can be sold into the following markets: animal bedding, mulch, hydrocarbon absorbents, fertilizer, and various building products.
- Hemp Fiber – Hemp’s bast fiber is strong and versatile, allowing it to be sold into all of the following markets: textiles (ie shoes, clothing, bags, socks, rope, twine, carpet), biocomposites (ie door panels for cars, plastics, furniture), insulation materials, and paper.
Can hemp get me high?
The legal definition of hemp requires that the hemp have no more than 0.3% THC. THC is the compound that gets you high. Due to the low level of no more than 0.3% THC, it is impossible for hemp to get you high.
What is the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil?
Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. Due to hemp seed oils high content of essential fatty acids, it can be sold into all of the following markets: nutritional supplements, food, cosmetics and personal care, animal feed, and protein flours and powders. In contract, CBD oil generally comes from extracting the flower of the hemp plant; and it is generally used for its medicinal benefits. Contact us if you have any further questions relating to the hemp seed oil or CBD oil.
Does CBD come from hemp or marijuana?
CBD can be derived from both the hemp plant and the marijuana plant. CBD derived from the marijuana plant is regulated by Florida’s Department of Health and must be purchased from a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center; whereas, CBD derived from the hemp plant will be regulated by Florida’s Department of Agriculture and will likely have looser regulations than marijuana-derived hemp once Florida finalizes Florida’s hemp program. Thus, CBD businesses and consumers need to pay careful attention to where their CBD is derived to ensure compliance with Florida law.
Is it legal to transport hemp across state lines?
Yes, hemp that is produced pursuant to the 2014 Farm Bill or the 2018 Farm Bill may be transported interstate. While this was not made completely clear in the 2018 Farm Bill, the USDA clarified this issue in its guidance published on May 28, 2019 as follows: “(1) after USDA publishes regulations implementing the new hemp production provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill, States and Indian tribes may not prohibit the interstate transportation or shipment of hemp lawfully produced under a State or Tribal plan or under a license issued under the USDA plan; and (2) States and Indian tribes also may not prohibit the interstate transportation or shipment of hemp lawfully produced under the 2014 Farm Bill.” Nonetheless, there are still several issues that must be considered if you are a hemp business considering shipment of hemp across state lines. Contact us to ensure that you understand all the potential risks and requirements for shipping hemp or hemp products across state lines.
Is it legal to import hemp seeds?
On April 19, 2019, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Services published a Bulletin providing guidance for importing seeds. It provides certain requirements for importing seeds from Canada and different requirements for importing seeds from countries other than Canada. Contact us to ensure you comply with all the requirements.
What are the environmental and social benefits of hemp?
Hemp has an immensely positive impact on the world. The following are just a few ways hemp can positively impact our world: Unlike cotton and flax (hemp’s competitors), hemp is naturally resistant to pests and thus requires way fewer pesticides and herbicides; hemp helps restore soil; unlike petroleum (hemps competitor with respect to plastics), hemp is biodegradable and non-toxic which means it is great for all plastic products; the hemp plant absorbs toxic metals; hemp is an outstanding renewable biofuel; fabrics made from hemp do not contain chemical residue; hemp can significantly reduce the effects of carbon emissions; hemp builds stronger and healthier homes and buildings; hemp reduces air pollution; and hemp can help mitigate world hunger. We are very passionate about the benefits of hemp. Contact us if you want to explore how to capitalize on any of these benefits.
What equipment is needed to process the hemp plant for its other uses?
If you are interested in processing hemp, the first thing you need to determine is what you want as your output. For example, if your desired output is CBD oil, then you will need to set up a lab with extraction equipment; whereas, if your desired output is fiber and hurd, then you will need to set up decorticating equipment. Determining which output best suits your operations or which equipment you should be using is determinative on the facts and circumstances. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
If I take CBD, will I come up positive on a drug test for marijuana?
Most drug tests will be testing for THC; not CBD. However, CBD products may contain some trace amounts of THC that may show up on a drug-test. It is important that you check the packaging for THC levels. But, unfortunately, that may not help much since the industry is currently unregulated and packaging may not be accurate or may not contain sufficient information. If you expect to be drug-tested, I recommend being very careful about which CBD products you are taking. Contact us if you have any questions related to the language on the packaging.
What is a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center?
Florida’s licensing structure is currently a vertically integrated license, which means that the licensee must cultivate, process, transport, and dispense medical marijuana. Under Florida law, such a licensee is referred to as a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center. Oftentimes, these entities are referred to in the short-form of “MMTC”.
When will Florida start accepting additional applications for Medical Marijuana Treatment Center licenses?
This is a question I get several times a week. There is no clear answer. On April 18, 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis finally provided some insight when he stated that the state is expecting to issue another 7 licenses before the end of the year. However, subsequently, a Florida court ruled that the vertically integrated statutory structure is contrary to Florida’s constitution. This has put additional confusion as to when new licenses will be issued. Most likely there will be additional judicial and administrative challenges that will need to be resolved prior to any further licenses get issued. Contact us if you have any questions relating to the application process.
Which municipalities and counties in Florida permit Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers?
Per the Florida statute, regulation of cultivation, processing, and delivery of medical marijuana is preempted by the state. In other words, the municipalities and counties in Florida cannot regulate the cultivation, processing, and delivery of medical marijuana; instead, the municipalities and counties in Florida must rely on the restrictions in the Florida statute for cultivation, processing, and delivery of medical marijuana. But, the Florida statute allows the municipalities and counties in Florida to regulate the dispensing of marijuana by either: (1) completely banning dispensaries from being located within the municipality or county; or (2) restricting the location of dispensaries no more than the ordinances permitting or determining the location for pharmacies. We are currently in the process of publishing a detailed list of all the municipalities and counties that have a complete ban on dispensing. Stay tuned!
How many Medical Marijuana Treatment Center licenses have been issued by the state of Florida?
On April 16, 2019, Governor Desantis’ administration approved a settlement agreeing to award 8 new Medical Marijuana Treatment Center licenses. This will bring the number of licenses from 14 to 22.
What are the qualifying medical conditions to be eligible for a medical marijuana card in Florida?
Per Florida Statutes:
“A patient must be diagnosed with at least one of the following conditions to qualify to receive marijuana or a marijuana delivery device:
(d) Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus.
(e) Acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
(f) Post-traumatic stress disorder.
(g) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
(h) Crohn’s disease.
(i) Parkinson’s disease.
(j) Multiple sclerosis.
(k) Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated in paragraphs (a)-(j).
(l) A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification.
(m) Chronic nonmalignant pain.”
Can a person use an out-of-state medical marijuana license to purchase marijuana in Florida?
Currently, no. However, there is a bill filed for the 2019 legislative session that would allow patients licensed to obtain medical marijuana in another state to purchase medical marijuana in Florida. We’ll have to stay tuned to see how this develops.
Can I grow my own marijuana in my home in Florida?
Per the First District Court of Appels in the Redner case, you may not grow your own marijuana in your home.
Is public consumption of marijuana legal in Florida?
No, public consumption of marijuana is not legal in Florida. Qualified patients are allowed to consume their legally obtained medical marijuana on only private property.
Is medical marijuana covered by insurance in Florida?
No, medical marijuana is not covered by insurance in Florida. However, several politicians are currently fighting to change that. This may change in the near future. So stay tuned.
Does Florida allow me to have a gun permit and a medical marijuana card?
Florida gun laws do not restrict a gun-permitholder from also having a medical marijuana card; and Florida marijuana laws do not restrict medical-marijuana-cardholders from also having a gun license. Thus, a Florida resident should have no problem obtaining in Florida both a gun permit and a medical marijuana card. However, things get complicated if a medical-marijuana-cardholder tries to obtain a new firearm. Question 11e on the Firearms Transaction Record, which must be filed with the ATF every time a new firearm is sold, asks if you are an unlawful user of a controlled substance. This form contains a warning that marijuana is still illegal under Federal law even if it is legal in the state you reside. Once a medical-marijuana-cardholder answers “yes”, the sale will be denied. But there may be other options such as purchasing a used firearm from another firearm owner, which is permitted under Florida law and does not require the filing of a Firearms Transaction Record with the ATF. Contact us if you want to learn more about how these laws intersect.