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Florida Governor Could Become Unlikely Savior of State’s Hemp Industry as Reports Suggest He Will Veto Controversial Bill

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, an outspoken opponent of cannabis legalization, may have become an unlikely savior of the state’s hemp industry.

In March this year, Senate Bill 1698 was passed by Florida lawmakers, and is set to be enforced in October.

Designed to regulate the flourishing intoxicating hemp market, the bill would ban the sale of products like Delta-8 and Delta-10, but hemp businesses in the state have warned that this would decimate the hemp industry.

The unregulated sale of these new hemp-derived products is thought to have been worth $10bn in Florida alone in 2022, significantly more than the sale of medical cannabis.

According to reports from CBS News Miami, DeSantis is now considering vetoing the controversial bill in the hopes of garning support from the hemp industry against adult-use legalization.

As Business of Cannabis reported in April, Florida voters will now have the opportunity to vote on adult-use cannabis legalization in November after the Supreme Court votes by 5-2 not to block the initiative, despite significant opposition.

One such opponent is DeSantis, who is now hoping that his support of the hemp industry will bring them on side to derail the legalization bill by financing his campaign against it.

Anonymous sources close to the governor told the publication that DeSantis was now leaning towards a veto, adding that the only reason he would be against cannabis but for hemp was if he was ‘looking for money from the hemp industry’.

This battle is also playing out in parallel on the national stage, following the passage of an amendment to the farm bill, which the hemp industry says will destroy 90-95% of businesses in the sector.

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