Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has vetoed Senate Bill 1698, a bill that aimed to ban the sale of delta 8 THC and other hemp-derived cannabinoids. Despite the bill’s objectives to regulate hemp products more stringently, DeSantis argued that it would impose excessive regulatory burdens on small businesses without achieving its intended outcomes.

Governor’s Rationale For Veto

DeSantis acknowledged the bill’s commendable goals in his letter to the Florida Secretary of State. Still, they emphasized that its implementation would lead to significant disruption and harm for many small retail and manufacturing businesses that have emerged following recent legislation supporting the commercial use of hemp. He encouraged the state legislature to revisit the issue in the next session, suggesting a focus on product standards such as packaging and accurate labeling, including details on cannabinoid content, sourcing information, health claims, and dosing instructions.

Political Implications

Notably, DeSantis’ veto message did not address the upcoming November ballot initiative that could legalize recreational marijuana sales in Florida if passed by 60 percent of voters. DeSantis, who opposes legalization, appears to be leveraging his veto to influence the hemp industry’s stance on this initiative. According to sources, he believes that by keeping Delta 8 and other hemp-derived products available, he can reduce voter support for the legalization amendment and garner financial backing from the hemp industry to combat the initiative.

Hemp & Marijuana: A Complex Relationship

The political and economic rivalry between the hemp and regulated marijuana industries is evident in Florida. The proposed delta 8 ban has garnered support from medical marijuana businesses and potential entrants into the recreational market, who view over-the-counter hemp products as competition. A Florida delta 8 ban would impact numerous hemp-related businesses across the state, including farmers, manufacturers, and retail outlets, as well as residents using these products for medical purposes.

Details Of SB 1698

Had it become law, SB 1698 would have banned the sale of delta 8 THC and other hemp-derived cannabinoids such as delta 10 THC, HHC, THCP, THC-O, and THCV, along with all synthetic cannabinoids. The bill also proposed defining allowable levels of delta 9 THC in hemp products, setting the legal purchasing age at 21, and prohibiting products that resemble food items or are marketed in packaging appealing to children.

Future Of The Ballot Initiative

The November ballot initiative, known as the Marijuana Legalization Initiative or Amendment 3, seeks to amend the Florida constitution to allow adults 21 and over to legally possess up to three ounces of marijuana and five grams of concentrates. It would also permit current medical marijuana facilities to sell recreational products and authorize the state legislature to license additional cultivation and retail businesses. However, its passage remains uncertain, with polls showing varied outcomes.


Governor DeSantis’ veto of SB 1698 underscores the intricate dynamics between the hemp and marijuana industries in Florida. As the state approaches the November vote on recreational marijuana legalization, the interplay between legislative actions and voter sentiment will be pivotal in shaping the future of cannabis regulation in Florida.


  1. Why did Governor Ron DeSantis veto SB 1698?

Governor DeSantis vetoed SB 1698 due to concerns that it would impose excessive regulatory burdens on small businesses and disrupt those that have emerged from recent hemp legislation. He suggested revisiting the issue with a focus on product standards like packaging and accurate labeling.

  1. What were the main provisions of SB 1698?

SB 1698 aimed to ban delta 8 THC and other hemp-derived cannabinoids, define allowable levels of delta 9 THC, set the purchasing age at 21, and prohibit products that resemble food or have child-attractive packaging.

  1. How might DeSantis’ veto impact the November ballot initiative on recreational marijuana?

DeSantis’ veto might reduce voter support for the recreational marijuana legalization initiative (Amendment 3) by keeping hemp-derived products available, potentially affecting voter motivation and gaining financial backing from the hemp industry to oppose the initiative.

About The Author

Aruna Kumari is a prolific writer, specializing in CBD and cannabis topics. With a wealth of experience, she crafts insightful content that educates and empowers readers about the benefits and nuances of cannabis and CBD usage.

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