Senate Bill 1676 came out of the 2023 legislative session and went into effect July 1, 2023. The bill prohibits hemp-derived products such as Delta-8 from being sold to individuals under 21 years of age and included consumer protections by making the products and packaging not “attractive to children”. The original versions of the bill in the Senate (SB 1676) and House (HB 1475) set limits on how much THC could be included per serving and per package of hemp products. Florida Healthy Alternatives was very active to ensure the limits were not included in the final version of the bill.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs (FDACS) will be creating rules to implement SB 1676. The proposed rules released at the end of summer were problematic in that they restricted all color additives and limited packaging colors to merely gray scale. Florida Healthy Alternatives is attempting to work with FDACS on reasonable restrictions.
In the meantime, a private Florida company filed a lawsuit in federal court against FDACS arguing that the new law blocks sales to consumers outside the state. The plaintiff asked for injunctive relief against FDACS which was denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick M. Hunt. In his Report and Recommendation, Hunt said:
As discussed above, Plaintiff’s threatened injury is the unjust loss of its business and customers and damage to its reputation. The undersigned finds that Plaintiff has not met its burden of showing the balance of harms weighs in its favor. At least at this stage, it appears the State’s interest in applying safety measures to the hemp-based industry weighs more heavily than the harm that may result from Plaintiff’s continued, unrestricted operation of its business. To some degree, Plaintiff’s harms are self-inflicted and stem from the continued operation of the distribution and sale of products Plaintiff had reason to know would probably be subject to a stop-sale order at some point in the future. In imposing the restrictions on what kinds of gummies may be sold and distributed within the state and which may not, the State of Florida asserts it serves the public interest of protecting minors and preventing the marketing and sale of hemp-derived products to children.
The Florida Healthy Alternatives Association was not involved in this lawsuit nor did they support it.
- The Florida legislature goes into its annual 60-day session starting January 9 to March 8, 2024.