DeSantis Vetoes Bill That Would Regulate Intoxicating Hemp In Lifeline To Industry As He Bashes Cannabis Legalization Amendment

Zinger Key Points
  • DeSantis argues for "sensible" rules for intoxicating hemp-based products, urges voters to reject a cannabis legalization ballot.
  • Some say DeSantis’ veto of hemp bill is to garner financial support from Florida’s lucrative hemp industry to defeat legalization ballot.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, as expected, vetoed a bill that would have banned certain intoxicating hemp-derived products in Florida. If passed, the bill would have outlawed the sale of products containing delta-8 THC and limited the amount of delta-9 THC, both of which are unregulated and widely available, including to minors.

Hemp farmers and businesses that sell and manufacture hemp-derived products argued that, if passed, the bill would have effectively destroyed the industry and cost Florida thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in lost revenue.

"The bill would, in fact, impose debilitating regulatory burdens on small businesses and almost certainly fail to achieve its purposes," DeSantis wrote in his veto letter. "Sensible, non-arbitrary regulation will provide businesses and consumers alike with much-needed stability — safeguarding public health and safety, allowing legitimate industry to flourish, and removing bad actors from the market."

Meanwhile, the governor vehemently opposes and has vowed to scuttle a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida.

“Do we want to have more marijuana in our communities? I don’t think it’ll work out well,” DeSantis said in April.

Sensible Regulation?

Critics argue that the lack of regulation and stringent testing of hemp products can and often does result in them containing dangerously high levels of THC or other harmful substances. They also warn that the widespread availability of hemp products, including at gas stations and convenience stores, poses risks to young people.

As DeSantis advocates for “sensible, non-arbitrary regulation” of intoxicating hemp-based products, he is simultaneously urging voters to reject the November ballot measure that proposes to establish similar regulations for recreational marijuana. In doing so, he is enabling the hemp industry to continue operating without these important regulations.

Why? Some view DeSantis' veto of the hemp regulation bill as part of his plan to garner financial backing from Florida's lucrative hemp industry, which he needs to defeat the November cannabis legalization ballot.

Machiavellian Move Or Double Standard?

The Florida Healthy Alternatives Association, a hemp trade group, reportedly paid $155,000 to lobbyists during the first three months of the year, noted CBS Miami. It is notable that one of the hemp association’s key lobbyists is the Republican Party of Florida’s chair, Evan Power while Florida Democratic Party chair Nikki Fried is a strong hemp and cannabis advocate.

Now Eead: DeSantis Is Less Popular Than Florida’s Legal Cannabis Amendment: New Poll That Also Shows Biden Gaining On Trump

Photo: Benzinga edit with images by Wikimedia Commons and Kindel Media on Pexels

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsLegalTop StoriesCannabis Legalization AmendmentFlorida Cannabishemp regulation billRon DeSantis
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