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Hemp Moving Out of the Shadows

March 25th, 2019 by Mike Vasilinda

Hemp, which is marijuana with a low THC level, was legalized and taken off the Federal Schedule I list of dangerous drugs last year.

While it remains illegal under Florida law, a Senate committee Monday voted to legalize hemp, and that’s good news for what is already a growth industry for the state.

Charles Savage got bitten by a tick and ended up with lime disease.

“It took a big toll on me, like arthritis and pain,” said Savage.

For months, he got no relief until he tried CBD oil made from low THC hemp.

“It pretty much was a game changer for me. I have full ability now, zero pain. It’s phenomenal,” said Savage.

With his pain gone, Savage opened his own CBD store, but Hemp and its CBD oil remain in a legally gray area.

“It’s still as schedule one drug as it relates to our statutes, so the goal is to free that up and let this industry thrive and grow,” said Rep Ben Albritton.

While hemp is still in a legally gray area, hemp is out of the shadows.

The Hemp Association has its office less than a block from the Capitol.

Gabe Suarez owns two CBD stores with at least three more in the works.

He’s been raided by police but not arrested.

“We hope this will guide law enforcement in the right direction and to enforce things properly, and not be misinformed and sometimes harassing stores like we experienced in the past,” said Suarez.

Saurez supports licensing.

“There is a good number of players that do things honestly and right, but you can’t guarantee everybody always will, so this will regulate that,” said Saurez.

The legislation also calls for the testing of products for THC levels and for purity, something missing in today’s market.

Unlike medical marijuana, the hemp program would be overseen by the Department of Agriculture.

Citrus farmers as well as those who lost timber in Hurricane Michael has expressed interest in growing hemp.


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