Florida Agricultural Commish delivers on campaign promise


Do you produce food or dairy products in Florida? Well, heads up: There’s a new regulatory regime in place covering extracts from everybody’s favorite plant, hemp – which means regulations covering everybody’s favorite hemp extract, CBD.

We’ve spent the past year documenting the various tussles over CBD and the sometimes-outlandish claims being made about it. And work has been good – state regulations in the United States define a hodgepodge of various levels of legality, and the federal government has been notoriously slow to act. There’s always plenty to write about!

Is There Viral Video of That?

But Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s office is taking some work off our plate. The Sunshine State, which is the butt of endless Floridians-are-completely-insane jokes and urban legends, adopted a surprisingly – ahem – sober and straightforward rule set governing the use of hemp. New rules that took effect on Jan. 1 cover hemp’s inclusion in food, dairy and animal feed products; seed and cultivation rules will follow. Note, however, that at the federal level, the FDA still has not approved the use of CBD in foods or dietary supplements.

The new state regulations are a consequence of a 2018 law passed by Congress that removed hemp (cannabis with negligible levels of THC, the chemical that makes marijuana fun) from the controlled substances list and handed regulation authority to the states.

The upshot? Fried, who was elected commissioner on a pro-cannabis platform, launched a new “horizontally integrated” regulatory regime intended “to allow any interested parties to participate in any aspects of the process.”

The Takeaway

The rules contain the usual packaging and label provisions and define the levels of CBD that can be included in a product (no more than 0.3%).

But the most important provision is a blanket denial of medical performance claims: “The label and advertisement [of products containing hemp] shall not contain claims indicating the product is intended for diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, rendering it a drug as defined in 21 U.S.C. 321(g)(1).”

So, there you have it. Clear and straightforward. Want your Florida-sold product to be classified as a drug under federal law? Go ahead and claim it cures … well, anything at all.