By Jeff Greene
As we have gone through the last 18 months, the right to be able to sell hemp products seemed like the one of the biggest challenges. That fight has been won and now the real work begins.
Between the store owners, the consumers, law enforcement and landlords, education is everything.
Last week I had the opportunity to speak in front of dozens of Broward County law enforcement on the differences of hemp and medical marijuana. I left that meeting with a new found compassion for our law enforcement community. Regardless of how you feel about marijuana (MMJ), the reality is that the legalization of hemp has made law enforcements job that much harder. Now, for example, dogs that have been trained to smell marijuana are no longer able to be used as effectively because the smell of hemp and MMJ is the same. It even looks the same. The reason for that is the only difference between the two is scientific.
The plant is made up of over one hundred cannabinoids but there is only one subset that creates a euphoric or high. The THC subset. The calculation of that subset has been the topic of many arguments over the last two weeks.
The good news is that with the solid regulations in place, good trade organizations out there, like The Florida Hemp Council and voracious demand, the industry will we believe work itself out.
There have been so many tangent arguments as to the effectiveness of this plant. The most recent vaping incident has parents and users anxious and rightly so, the lack of regulation in the vape space needs to be cleaned up. What some are calling over reaching regulations in the hemp industry, many of the tangent industries grew up with no regulations. That lack of regulation has allowed manufacturers with less than the best quality controls to pump out product that is so much cheaper and with that compromise in quality comes health issues.
Friday, the final rules were reviewed with the industry by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Anyone that wants to retail hemp products will need to obtain or update their Food Permit to include hemp. For many this is a new license and the cost per the rule is $650 per year. For those that already sell food products, the cost will be the delta between $650 and what they have already paid.
Carrying products with a QR code leading to a full panel test is the regulation that should give consumers piece of mind. Download a QR Code reader on your phone and if you want to buy CBD products we will have a sample on our website (TheFLHC.org) showing a passing and failing product. The last game that may be played is a QR code to no where. Technology can be tricky and not every case is nefarious but if you can not bring up a test result with a QR code make sure you bring that to an employee’s or owner’s attention.
Lastly, education is paramount. The Florida Hemp Council is working with some of the best educators in the nation to help educate our members. As a retail member you are provided many of these services as part of your membership and there is certainly more specific and detailed education available at additional fees.