Legislators in Florida have approved HB 1613, which would regulate hemp products. The measure’s approval by the state’s legislature will prevent patients with various conditions, among them idiopathic genetic epilepsy, from using these products to manage their symptoms.
The measure’s version in the Senate, SB 1698, would also prohibit the use of delta-8 THC, a psychoactive compound found in the marijuana plant. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) believes that this cannabinoid has intoxicating and psychoactive effects, some individuals have revealed that it provides medicinal benefits.
Data from the National Cannabis Industry Association shows that currently, delta-8 is banned in 17 states.
HB 1613 was presented last week to the House Agriculture, Conservation and Resiliency Committee by its sponsor, Tommy Gregory of Manatee County. Gregory presented the measure as a consumer-protection legislation, designed to protect kids from being attracted to products derived from hemp. This comes after a law enacted in 2023 banned marketing that targeted kids and product packaging that resembled candy.
HB 1613 also includes provisions that would place a cap on THC in products derived from hemp by individual packages and servings. The measure would also ban naturally occurring or synthetic versions of controlled substances, including delta-8 and delta-10 THC.
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is referred to as the marijuana plant that contains no more than 0.3% THC. In addition to its medicinal properties, hemp is also used to produce biomass that contains cannabidiol (“CBD”), which is one of the two primary compounds found in marijuana. This nonpsychoactive compound may be useful in the treatment of health conditions such as inflammation, anxiety and stress.
During the bill’s presentation, testimonies were given by several individuals. While some noted that the bill’s passage would negatively impact their businesses and also devastate the state’s hemp industry, others admitted that there was a need for products derived from hemp to be banned or at least have their potency reduced.
For example, Brandon Lee Eady gave his testimony on the positive impact hemp had had in his life. Eady, who suffered a C3 and C4 spinal cord injury, manages his pain with hemp and its derivatives, including CBD, delta-8 and delta-9, as well as medicinal THC.
He revealed that after prescribed conventional treatments didn’t relieve the physical pain he was in, he sought out alternative treatments. Eady noted that the measure’s passage would not only lead to the closure of many businesses and scrap alternative means for individuals to manage their pain but also push more people to the illicit market to obtain these products.
With testing technologies available from companies such as Astrotech Corp. (NASDAQ: ASTC), different jurisdictions now have the tools to ensure that licensed companies only sell approved products from hemp and marijuana. These permitted products could address the needs of the patients who have been opting for unregulated products.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Astrotech Corp. (NASDAQ: ASTC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ASTC
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