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VIDEO: Tallahassee hemp businesses 'ecstatic' after Governor DeSantis vetoes hemp bill

Governor DeSantis vetoed SB 1698, which would have banned certain hemp products.
Posted at 7:42 PM, Jun 08, 2024
  • Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed CS/SB 1698. If passed, the bill would have banned certain hemp products, putting local hemp businesses at risk.
  • Supporters of the bill say it could have closed a loophole to get high.
  • Watch the video to hear reactions from local hemp businesses about the veto's impact.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Governor Ron DeSantis has vetoed a controversial hemp bill that some say would have closed down businesses in our neighborhoods.

"With the rules that would've been placed, we pretty much would've not been able to sell like 90% of the products in here," Dalton Rowan, General Manager of Tallahassee's Florida Hemp Distribution said.

I'm Kenya Cardonne, your neighborhood reporter in the College Town neighborhood.

Hemp sellers say the Food and Hemp Product Bill: "Was essentially like a trojan horse, in a way, to ban all these cannabinoids and then put unreasonable cap limits," Rowan said.

The hemp bill we first told you about back in February would have put new restrictions on hemp cannabinoids.

Supporters say it was closing a loophole to get high.

"Shouldn't we keep the ingestible and inhalant products that are being sold to Florida consumers safe? And I know that you all agree, the answer to that is yes," the House sponsor of the bill Rep. Tommy Gregory (R), said in a committee meeting
in February.

Others say it would have put local shops out of business.

Friday, Governor DeSantis vetoed the bill.

In the Governor's letter declaring his decision to veto, DeSantis writes, "Small businesses are the cornerstone of Florida’s economy. While Senate Bill 1698’s goals are commendable, the bill would, in fact, impose debilitating regulatory burdens on small businesses and almost certainly fail to achieve its purposes.”

"I got to tell the employees, you know, your jobs are good. Nobody is getting laid off and we're going to continue to operate as normal so we're pretty excited," Rowan said.

Opposers like Rowan and folks at Tallulah Smoke Shop, in the College Town neighborhood say it had businesses fearing for job security and consumers worried about access to hemp, often used for pain and stress relief.

"Everybody deserves a break and everybody just deserves to be themselves and be calm, and I feel like that's kind of what it takes away from," Danay Huggins and Employee at Tallulah Smoke Shop said.

Rowan tells me with age restrictions, child-proof packaging, and proper regulation in place.. there's no need for this bill.

"You have FDACS [Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services] being spread so thin, I personally believe that if they were to just invest more funding into FDACS so they could actually enforce the rules that already exist rather than just making new ones, it might be more efficient," Rowan said.

To override the Governor's veto, it would take two-thirds of the members voting in each house.

In College Town, Kenya Cardonne, ABC 27