Hemp businesses concerned as new bill moves through legislature

Florida’s multi-billion dollar hemp industry at risk of going up in smoke is a new state bill becomes a law.

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The bill would set THC limits in hemp products to not exceed two milligrams per serving and ten milligrams per container.

It also modifies the definition of hemp products, saying they can’t be “attractive to children” by including promotional characters, animations or flavors that attract kids.

“It basically handcuffs the business and changes the way that we’re currently operating,” said Vita Labs CEO JJ Combs.

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Combs is a board-certified pharmacist. His company extracts from the hemp plant to make everything from gummies to vapes -- products that could be off the market if the bill passes.

Some doctors have argued that, every year, hundreds of kids have been exposed to highly potent THC products including some under the age of 5. They said existing laws weren’t tough enough.

Last year, a bill tried to put a cap on products, but the provisions were removed.

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Instead, the legislature passed a lesser measure, restricting buyers to be 21 and up.

Combs believes lawmakers are putting their focus on the wrong people.

“This isn’t some rinky-dink industry. We are sophisticated. We make good products. We are able to offer products at a cheaper price, we’re more economical,” said Combs. “We have a bigger reach than many people think.”

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The senate will consider the bill for its second reading on Tuesday. If passed, it would go into effect this July.

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