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420 with CNW — DeSantis Vetoes Bill Banning Hemp Intoxicants in Florida

As Florida governor Ron DeSantis campaigns against a ballot initiative for cannabis legalization, he has paradoxically vetoed a bill aimed at banning the sale of intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoids in the state. This decision comes in the wake of reports that Governor DeSantis intended to block the hemp prohibition bill, hoping the hemp industry would financially support his campaign against the cannabis measure that voters will decide on in November.

Although DeSantis did not explicitly reference the cannabis legalization measure in his veto letter, he noted that while the goals of SB 1698 are admirable, the measure would impose significant regulatory burdens on small entities and likely fail to achieve its objectives. He expressed concern that the bill would cause substantial harm and disruption to many manufacturing and small retail businesses in the state, which have thrived due to new laws legalizing the use of hemp for commercial purposes.

Despite vetoing the bill, DeSantis proposed several considerations for future legislative work on the issue. He suggested that lawmakers establish guidelines for the handling, cultivation and processing of hemp products to guarantee their purity, safety and potency. According to the governor, the current bill falls short in this regard. DeSantis also suggested selling hemp-derived cannabinoids behind the counter and placing hemp retail stores a safe distance away from places of worship, schools and other gathering places for families with young children.

Essentially, DeSantis is asking voters to reject a ballot proposition that would impose similar rules on the recreational marijuana business, even as he advocates for harsher laws on the hemp-based cannabinoid sector. In the meanwhile, he permits the hemp sector to function without these proposed regulations.

The governor’s veto message was issued a day after a Fox News survey revealed that two-thirds of Florida voters, including a majority of GOP supporters, support the marijuana legalization initiative. According to the survey, 66% of voters support the initiative, surpassing the 60% threshold needed to pass the amendment under state law. In contrast, 52% of voters indicated they either highly or somewhat approve of DeSantis’ performance as governor, highlighting a 14-point disparity in support compared to cannabis legalization.

This calls into doubt the electoral viability of DeSantis’s opposition to the cannabis bill. The governor has maintained that the state should not go beyond the current medical marijuana program, arguing that more extensive reform would have a detrimental effect on Floridians’ standard of living.

The contradictions evident in the governor’s opposition to adult-use cannabis legalization while at the same time shooting down legislation to rein in hemp intoxicants is something that marijuana companies such as TerrAscend Corp. (TSX: TSND) (OTCQX: TSNDF) could find baffling, making the case for federal reforms that are free from the suspected local interests that may have influenced this veto letter.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of an article each business day at 4:20 p.m. Eastern – a tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. The concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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