Florida’s budding Hemp Industry is about to hit a major growth spurt. Gov. Ron Desantis signed SB 1020, Florida’s official Hemp Bill, effective July 1st this year, allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp and implementing regulations overseen by the Florida Department of Agriculture. Since legislation in the 1950’s classified hemp and cannabis as controlled substances, farmers hit serious roadblocks preventing the cultivation of the plants. Last year, Congress passes the 2018 Farm Bill which not only removed Hemp (defined as the Cannabis sativa L. plant containing less than 0.3% THC) from the controlled substance list, but also provided for its protection under crop insurance.
ACS Laboratory in Florida provides potency testing of hemp as outlined by state program laws. The test is comprised of a panel of 16 cannabinoids, two of which are THC and CBD. ACS Laboratory has done testing for many reputable companies in Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Kentucky, and is gaining stellar reputation among Florida growers too. As the largest cannabis testing lab in the Southeastern United States, they are proponents of in-house third-party tests that exceed industry standards and help shape the industry’s regulations with highly accurate, reproducible results for third-party validation Certificate of Analysis (COA). Since CBD products comprise the majority of hemp product sales of a forecasted $1.2 billion industry in 2019, Florida farmers, cultivators, extractors, and dispensaries alike can trust ACS Laboratory’s analytical report for their product’s THC/CBD makeup. ACS Lab also has test panels for pesticides, heavy metals, mycotoxins, microbials, terpenes, and more.
A Look Forward
Since the 2018 Farm Bill, states already growing hemp have expanded crops rapidly, from 26,000 acres in 2017 to 78,000 acres in 2018. Florida’s farmers have endured 20 years of hardships with the citrus industry including multiple hurricanes and disease. Citrus will likely remain Florida’s top crop, but now farmers will have the option to supplement their income with industrial hemp. Nikki Fried, the state Agricultural Commissioner believes, “It is a critical step to creating a green industrial revolution, strengthening agriculture with an alternative crop of the future, and expanding access to safe, quality CBD products. Florida has the potential to become the gold standard on hemp.”
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