Many stores and bars in Jacksonville sell products containing Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-euphoric substance derived from cannabis plants.
But state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said CBD remains illegal in Florida, despite federal decriminalization of hemp.
Still, CBD is easy to find, for example, with a quick walk around Five Points. Shops there, including New Leaf Vapor Company and Brew coffee shop, offer everything from CBD-infused seltzer water to CBD advertised as a cure for anxious dogs.
People working at both those and other shops declined interviews when WJCT News asked about the legality of CBD.
State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried recently announced Holly Bell as the new Director of Cannabis. During the same announcement, Fried also discussed the legality of CBD products.
"It’s not legal here right now," Fried said. "And that's exactly what I’m hoping the legislation is going to allow. We’re working with some of the lawmakers so they can change the definition so that we can, in fact, do a CBD program here in our state to make it very clear."
It's important to note that the CBD products being sold in Florida are unregulated, untested, and without standards on what consumers are putting into their bodies, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Florida may be next to get in line with a state bill that would regulate hemp growing and sales, which would bring Jacksonville in line with federal laws. The bill unanimously passed in its first Senate committee hearing Wednesday.
Senator Rob Bradley, who’s a strong supporter of the bill, said, “The fundamental purpose of this bill is to modernize our state statutes to make sure that they are consistent with federal laws and to allow a hemp industry to begin in our state,” he explained to the Florida Senate Committee on Innovation, Industry and Technology Wednesday.
In an email to WJCT News, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda said JSO regularly monitors medical marijuana products being sold and asked people who suspect it to contact police.
The bill is now waiting on approval from the Agriculture Committee.