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Is CBD Legal in Florida? This is What You Need to Know

Revered for its therapeutic benefits, CBD has quickly swept the nation becoming a household name. Of course, the lines in terms of legalities are still blurred as the green-leafed cannabis plant makes its way into a brave new world—and the east coast. Between medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, CBD, and everything in between, the rules and regulations can be a little confusing.

Especially with its recent introduction into the sunshine state, it's difficult to figure out where legal cannabis begins and ends. So, if you're wondering is CBD legal in Florida? Then stay tuned, because in this article we're going to talk about Florida CBD, THC, and everything in between.

A Brief History of Cannabis in Florida

Taking a look into Florida's history with reefer madness, it's no wonder the state has such a stranglehold on its cannabis regulations today. Marijuana began to bloom in popularity in the sunshine state during the 1930s prohibition era, and with little legislation to control it. Of course, the wholesome American population wanted to see it pulled out by the roots—so much so that the first commissioner of the U.S Bureau of Narcotics made a move to demonize the plant.

The commissioner, Harry J Anslinger, used a series of 200 reports on violent crimes committed by supposed drug users to make his case. In one report that jarred the nation, a young man by the name of Victor Licata had murdered his entire family with an ax. Authorities blamed the incident on marijuana use. However, medical records later revealed that Licata suffered from severe mental illness. Not a marijuana-induced violent rampage.

These very important facts were completely disregarded in an effort to force legislation onto the plant. Eventually, 198 of these reports referred to as Anslinger's Gore Files were discredited by historians, but at the time, scared American citizens had no reason not to believe that cannabis was dangerous.

Of course, not all citizens believed the hype. Throughout the 1970s, smugglers began sneaking marijuana into the state by the ton. By the end of the decade, Florida was importing massive amounts of the stuff from Jamaica and Colombia. It was also becoming known for its homegrown "Gainsville green". Then came Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs in the early 1980s, which put a stranglehold on cannabis users, importers, and growers.

By the 1990s, cases of cannabis used to cope with chronic pain and other conditions became more frequent. Because of this, Florida once again became more tolerant of the plant. It even resulted in a Supreme Court ruling that possession could be argued as a "medical necessity".

During this progressive time, the early Bush administration outlawed medical cannabis testing. The Clinton administration later repealed this ban in favor of medical marijuana testing. In essence, cannabis in Florida has ping-ponged through seven decades and multiple presidents. 

How is CBD Different From THC?

The best way to explain how CBD is different from THC is to explain what it is, how it works, and where it comes from. For starters, CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of over a hundred naturally occurring chemical compounds—or cannabinoids—within the Cannabis Sativa plant. Cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid revered for its therapeutic and pharmacological properties, and it actually wasn't discovered until the mid-1990s. 

While both THC and CBD are phytocannabinoids with significant therapeutic properties, the main difference is that THC is psychoactive and CBD is non-psychoactive. What this means is that THC will get you intoxicated or "high" while CBD won't. In fact, CBD is known to neutralize the psychoactive effects of THC when combined in certain amounts. It also makes a great option for those who seek the therapeutic properties of cannabis but don't want to or can't experience the high.

The reason that one phytocannabinoid is intoxicating while the other isn't has to do with how each one interacts with the human body. We have what is called an Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which produces its own endogenous cannabinoids—or, endocannabinoids—to react with the receptors in each of our cells. The purpose of our ECS is to regulate and maintain a balance throughout all of the body's other systems. You can read more about the ECS here

To put things simply, THC binds with the receptors in the neurons within our brain. This causes a disruption between neurotransmitters which results in feelings of euphoria. CBD is able to support the ECS by stimulating its physiological effects. By stimulating and binding with our receptors, CBD helps to reduce the negative effects of a laundry list of conditions.

Is CBD Legal in Florida?

So what about CBD in Florida? Nearing the end of 2016, Florida approved a constitutional amendment. This is what officially welcomed medical marijuana into the state. Of course, regulations were stringent, only allowing non-smokeable THC/CBD products to be consumed by those with a medical marijuana card. This also meant that to obtain CBD products, you'd have to look for a medical marijuana dispensary that doubled as a CBD oil Florida dispensary. 

The reason for CBD being tied to these strict regulations was due to the lack of knowledge of the cannabis plant varieties. People tend to lump hemp, marijuana, sativa, etc. all into the "reefer madness" category. While all varieties contain certain amounts of THC and CBD as well as other cannabinoids, certain varieties contain more or less of each. In the case of CBD, cannabis farmers rely heavily on the cultivation of the hemp variety because it produces mainly CBD and very little THC. 

Due to the strict regulations on the plant itself, it wasn't until the 2018 Federal Farm Bill was passed, removing hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) naughty list, so to speak. Hemp is now defined by its THC concentration, which is allowed at 0.03% or less—which means that all legal CBD oil in Florida outside of medical marijuana dispensaries can contain that maximum amount of THC. 

So, to answer the burning question is CBD oil legal in Florida?—yes. As long as it meets the Federal Farm Bill standards and does not surpass the maximum quantity of THC allowed. Possessing ANY CBD oil in Florida containing more than 0.03% THC is treated as a Schedule I controlled substance and is subject to federal marijuana laws.

Come and Get it

If you're a resident of the sunshine state, you no longer have to wonder is CBD legal in Florida? It's legal and it's sitting on the shelf waiting for you. If you'd like to learn more about Florida CBD, you can reach out to us or check out the products on our site.

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