Florida governor does not want to impose THC caps on cannabis

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

State governor Ron DeSantis may feel that the range of cannabis products currently suffusing Florida’s market are overly potent, but he does not agree with the idea of imposing a cap on medical cannabis products containing the psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Based on the details of HB 1455 – Florida’s recently-imposed THC cannabis cap measure – levels of the psychotropic cannabinoid would be capped at 10 percent for flower products and 60 percent for concentrated cannabis products. 

DeSantis’ words have been digested slowly by the cannabis community, what with the tension recently building as a result of various states pondering over THC limits that could potentially hinder the market’s growth.

Currently, HB 1455 is awaiting one committee vote in the state House before it can reach a floor vote. However, it has faced interruption in the Senate.

“I have not endorsed (capping THC). That is not something I’m pushing,” DeSantis is reported as saying. “If you look at some of the stuff that’s now coming down, there’s a lot of really bad things in it. It’s not necessarily what you would’ve had 30 years ago when someone’s in college and they’re doing something,” he added.

No potency limits have been set for medical cannabis products in Florida just yet.

Poll reveals growing support for adult-use cannabis legalization in Florida

A recent poll commissioned by cannabis reform group Florida for Care has discovered that 59 percent of Floridians support recreational cannabis legalization. Additionally 58 percent are keen on the idea of medical cannabis expansion, while 58 percent are against the idea of capping the THC content on Florida’s cannabis products and a significant portion support adult-use cannabis legalization.

Another key finding from the survey spotlighted how Florida’s medical cannabis program has skyrocketed in the popularity stakes since legalization was approved by 71 percent of voters in 2016. Five years on, 76 percent of respondents support patient access to cannabis in its medicinal form.

DeSantis is seeking a $4 million cash injection to fund Florida’s medical cannabis quality control testing

Also in recent news, Gov. Ron DeSantis has requested that the Legislature invest a large sum of money into the Florida Office of Medical Marijuana Use. Specifically, the governor wants a whopping $4 million to be funneled into the Department from the 2022 state budget. A chunk of this amount will be used to kick-start medical cannabis lab testing.

Conversely, a portion of the $4 million sought by DeSantis will be used to establish a new set of regulations by the Florida Department of Health for medical cannabis quality control testing; for a broad scope of cannabis products, such as edibles, concentrates and raw flower. Currently, only medical cannabis treatment centers are ordered by the DOH to test their retail products in one of three state-certified private labs.

The Legislature has also been asked to set aside $800,000 for the expansion of a call center used by the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, as well as $200,000 to refresh software that will enable the Department of Health to accurately track THC potency. Leftover funds would go towards supporting eight lab employees, as well as for the infrastructure required to examine private lab results and act against retailers whose products have failed testing.