As of January 1, 2020, a $650 hemp license is required to sell hemp extract (CBD edibles) in Florida. Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Division of Food Safety released its Hemp Food Establishment Guidance.
Florida Senate Bill 1020 passed in May 2019 and was signed by the governor into law effective July 1st, 2019. This bill created section 581.217, Florida Statutes, and gives the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) regulatory authority over Hemp and Hemp Extract. As part of the State Hemp Program, the FDACS Division of Food Safety is in rulemaking to adopt Rule 5K-4.034. This rule will regulate the sale of Hemp Extract.
Senate Bill 1020 Details:
- Provides that s. 581.217, F.S., created by the bill, constitutes the state plan for regulation of the cultivation and of hemp for purposes of the 2018 Farm Bill.
- Directs the Commissioner of Agriculture (commissioner) to submit a plan for regulating hemp to the United States Secretary of Agriculture.
- Requires the commissioner to consult with the Governor and Attorney General to develop a recommendation to amend the state plan and submit the recommendation to the Legislature if the state plan is not approved by the United States Secretary of Agriculture.
- Requires a license to cultivate hemp.
- Requires an applicant for a hemp cultivation license to submit a full set of fingerprints to the department for a criminal background check.
- Requires the department to deny an application for a hemp cultivation license if the applicant has been convicted for a felony relating to controlled substances during the previous 10 years.
- Requires a license applicant to provide the global positioning coordinates and legal land description of the area where hemp will be cultivated.
- Authorizes the department to enter any public or private premises during regular business hours in the performance of its duties related to hemp cultivation, including inspections.
- Provides that hemp seed and hemp seed dealers are subject to the provisions of the Florida Seed Law and that registrants shall only use certified seeds.
- Requires the department, by August 1, 2019, to initiate rulemaking to administer the state hemp program in consultation with the Department of Health and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
- Creates the 15-member Industrial Hemp Advisory Council to provide advice and expertise to the department with respect to plans, policies and procedures applicable to the administration of the state hemp program.
- Expands eligible participants in the industrial hemp pilot projects to include colleges and universities with engineering or pharmacy programs.
- Excludes hemp and industrial hemp from the definition of the controlled substance “cannabis” in ch. 893, F.S.
- Any entity, whether a brick and mortar or online seller of CBD, must have a Hemp License as mandated by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Division of Food Safety.
- There will be a “three-strike rule” for non-compliance: 1st offense – written notice, 2nd offense – $10,000 fine, 3rd offense your business will be prohibited from selling CBD
Florida’s Hemp Food Establishment Guidance Definitions
“Hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds, that has a total delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration which does not exceed 0.3% on a dry-weight basis.
“Hemp Extract” means a substance or compound intended for ingestion that is derived from or contains Hemp and that does not contain other controlled substances.
A “Hemp Food Establishment” is an establishment engaged in manufacturing, processing, packing, holding, preparing, or selling food consisting of or containing Hemp Extract at wholesale or retail.
“Ingestion” is the process of taking food into the body through the mouth and into the gastrointestinal tract through eating or drinking.
Key Points from Florida Hemp Food Establishment Guidance
What is a “Hemp Food Establishment?”
Any establishment that manufactures, processes, packs, holds, prepares, or sells food consisting of or containing Hemp Extract is considered a Hemp Food Establishment and is required to have a food permit to operate in Florida.
What kind of Hemp products does the FDACS Division of Food Safety regulate?
Any Hemp Extract or product containing Hemp Extract intended for ingestion will be regulated by the Division of Food Safety
If I already have a food permit with FDACS, what do I need to do to sell Hemp products?
When you apply for your annual food permit, you will be asked if you sell or plan to sell Hemp products intended for human ingestion. You must report “yes” on your food permit renewal application and you will be designated as a “Hemp Food Establishment.” If you offer Hemp products after your permit has been issued, you must call the business center at 850-245-5520 or go online to FDACS.gov to update your records.
Will my food permit fee change if I begin to sell Hemp extract products?
The annual permit fee for Hemp Food Establishments is $650. If your current food permit fees are less than this, they will increase to $650.
If I do not have a food permit through FDACS, what steps do I need to take?
A food permit application may be submitted online, or faxed or mailed to the business center. Please note that faxing or mailing your permit application will likely result in a delay in the processing of your permit application.
Your facility must also meet the appropriate Minimum Construction Standards (MCS) based on the processing and operations planned for your business. MCS guidance and the permit application information can be found at www.fdacs.gov/Divisions-Offices/Food-Safety. An optional FDACS plan review service is available upon request to review and approve the establishment’s proposed facility layout prior to the permitting process.
Can businesses that operate under the Cottage Food Laws offer Hemp products?
No, the Cottage Food Laws do not cover Hemp Extract and a food permit will be required to carry Hemp Extract products.
Will I need a food permit if I only sell Hemp Extract products for ingestion online and do not store any Hemp products at my physical location?
Yes, a food permit is still required. There are specific labeling requirements in Florida Law and the products are subject to testing by the state’s laboratories. Additionally, online sellers of Hemp Extract are required to make sure their products meet the “approved source” requirements in Rule 5K-4.034, FAC. This means any products sold online must be manufactured in a facility that is subject to a food safety inspection program and meets their inspection requirements.
Will I need a special food permit if I want to sell Hemp Extract products intended for
human ingestion from a mobile sales unit?
Mobile food establishments may sell Hemp Extract as long as they meet all of the requirements for both mobile food establishments and Hemp food establishments; both of which include being properly permitted.
What kind of health claims am I allowed to make for the Hemp Extract that I carry?
Any statement or claim, either on the package itself or on any advertisement for the product, that the Hemp Extract is intended to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent diseases is not allowed.
What is considered an “approved source” for my Hemp Extract?
All Hemp Extract must be processed and distributed by facilities that are permitted and inspected by their local and/or state food safety jurisdictions. Retailers selling the end product must be able to provide a copy of the processor/distributor’s food permit and most recent inspection report to FDACS upon request showing that they meet their local jurisdiction’s food inspection requirements.
How can I verify that the Hemp products that I carry have acceptable levels of THC?
This is accomplished through laboratory testing. All Hemp food products must be accompanied by a lab report called a “Certificate of Analysis.” This report must represent the product and verify through laboratory testing that the levels of THC are less than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.
Where can I get the Certificate of Analysis (COA) for the Hemp products that I carry?
Hemp processors are required to test each batch of Hemp Extract that they produce. If the processor is unable to provide a COA, the Hemp Extract is not in conformance with Florida Law.
Are there any additional storage requirements for Hemp Extract food products?
Hemp Extract must be packaged in containers that minimize exposure to light. To prevent the degradation of cannabinoids, storage at or below room temperature is recommended.
Where can I go to find additional information about Hemp?
You may call the FDACS business center at (850) 245-5520 or go online to www.fdacs.gov/Cannabis/Hemp-CBD-in-Florida for additional information about Hemp in Florida. Also, please refer to section 581.217, Florida Statutes and Rule 5K-4.034, Florida Administrative Code for specific Hemp Extract regulations.