Leaders of the hemp industry in Florida came together in Pompano Beach Thursday, for the first stop on a statewide tour aimed at educating the community on new business developments.
Lawyers and state officials including Ricardo Alvarez of the Florida Department of Agriculture tried to clear up some of the regulations and compliance codes associated with growing and distributing hemp.
Gary Kareff was in the crowd. His family company has been making honey for the last 10 years. Now they are adding a new ingredient, hemp oil.
Kareff himself started using hemp oil and soon his entire family, dog included, did too. But they didn’t like the taste. So he mixed it with his honey.
“Hemp oil in and of itself isn’t really the most desirable taste but when infuse it into the honey it tends to have a much nicer flavor the honey kind of takes over.” he said.
Now there’s Honeygirl Hemp, a combination of the two. The hemp oil comes from Rob Nosel, the CEO of Perfect Edge Botanical in Margate. They make creams, capsules and now honey.
He says demand for cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp oil has grown because people are tired of prescription drug side effects.
“So what’s happening now ... they’re going to the physicians, they’re going to the stores, ‘I want to know about what’s this thing called CBD?’” he said.
The laws around CBD are pretty confusing for customers and retailers. Bills that create an industrial hemp program under the watch of the Florida’s Department of Agriculture, cleared the state Senate and House by unanimous votes this Session.
But state laws around CBD remain unclear.
David Hasenauer is the chairman of the Hemp Industries Association of Florida. He organized the event to help clarify some things. Hasenauer said he expects the Florida Department of Agriculture will produce new rules soon that will clear up the haze around hemp and CBD.
"Right now it is kinda the wild wild west and buyer beware, and it is especially hazy in Florida because we have a very unique terminology for what we call low THC medical marjuana.” he said.