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The United States CBD Expo arrives at the Miami Beach Convention Center

  Ruth Carp, 21, Peng CBD brand ambassador, blows a cloud of steam during the U.S. CBD Expo at the Miami Beach Convention Center on August 2, 2019. "title =" Ruth Carp, 21, Peng CBD brand ambassador, blows a cloud of steam during the US CBD Expo at the Miami Beach Convention Center on August 2, 2019.

Ruth Carp, 21, the brand ambassador for Peng CBD, blows a cloud of steam during the US CBD Expo at the Miami Beach Convention Center on August 2, 2019.


Jars of infused rubber candy lined up against the roof of the Miami Beach Convention Center when Ben Simon adjusted them to a pyramid.

"CBD here!" He screamed at the masses of people logging into the room Friday afternoon.

Simon, CEO of Hemp Plug CBD, was one of 700 brands represented at the United States CBD Expo, which debuted in South Beach.

On the opposite side of the Simon Exhibition Hall, a group of energetic dancers dressed head-to-toe in Spandex sprang around a scene announcing Stoked, a CBD-infused energy drink. Hidden puffs of CBD vapor escaped from the mouth to expositionists, who strolled around the hall. Nearby, a carnival-themed setup sponsored by a CBD oil vaporizer company offered cotton candy, shaved ice, raffle prizes and a photo booth for guests (all ages 18 and older).

Music blasted through the entire hall as thousands of attendees tried out CBD-infused cocktails, facials and an event with supplements of all shapes, sizes and colors.

The lively, tall United States CBD Expo is the brainchild of Zach Bader, managing partner of a New York-based electronic cigarette distributor and co-founder of the fair.

Bader, who has been organizing vape rallies and other similar events abroad, said his team chose Miami Beach after calling 10,000 local stores to chart their interest in CBD. CBD, or cannabinoid oil, is the non-euphoric substance that can be extracted and processed from the hemp plant.

The compound, unlike the psychoactive sister THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), will not get you high, but is anecdotally reported to have sedative and anti-inflammatory effects.

While hemp is now legal under the recently enacted federal Farm Bill, consumables of CBD products still exist in a gray space that is largely enforced in a patchwork, state by state.

South Florida showed the greatest interest in CBD, Bader said, and compared it to other cities he has worked in such as Barcelona and Copenhagen. He plans to return to Miami Beach next year during the convention season. The show's next stop is in Las Vegas in February.

"There is a very high concentration of stores here that either sell the product or are very interested in learning more," he said. “We see this industry starting to percolate. One year ago it was not where it is today. ”

Hemp Barriers Removed

A major difference between this year and the last is the last Farm Bill adoption in December, which removed the ban on industrial hemp that had been in place since 1937. The bill allowed the authorities to make hemp- programs beyond the university's research settings, classified hemp as an agricultural commodity and took it off the list of federally controlled substances.

"With Farm Bill Bill passing, there was a resurgence of these products here, and we thought it was optimal to arrange a convention," Bader said. "As you begin to understand their use, you will be excited about what will happen in the future."

Leading Cannabis Researchers BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research, projects such as the collective CBD sales market in the United States will exceed $ 20 billion by 2024.

Conferences were more careful about this figure, and less concerned about potential withdrawal from all who want to enforce state laws or agencies like the Food and Drug Administration.

This past week, the FDA sent a warning to Curaleaf, one of the nation's best medical marijuana companies and operator of 25 dispensaries in Florida. The agency penalized the company for the illegal sale of unapproved products that made unfounded health claims. Curaleaf's claims could cause people to delay medical treatment for serious conditions such as cancer, the agency said.

"Whether you're in the CBD industry or manufacturing Cheerios, you can't go out there and make health claims without clinical studies. It's a standard," Bader said.

Logan Stull, sales director for Tampa-based Docs Healthy Hemp, said officials at his company "really like" the idea of ​​agencies like the FDA and the state shutting down companies that aren't compliant with competition.

"Many companies don't pay to have their things tested," he said. " This will exclude those people. "

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Tyler Gomez of Green Road's CBD attends the US CBD Expo at the Miami Beach Convention Center on August 2, 2019.

Jennifer King


Tyler Gomez, who works for the Green Roads CBD Company, said that the warning was a good thing for companies playing after the book.

"For us, it's about protecting our customers and the end consumer at the end of the day," said Gomez, who wore a green "Make Hemp Great Again" hat. "We have promoted openness and safe manufacturing. The companies that are out there and doing it right – this is protecting them. It is protecting the end consumer, like my grandmother."

Green Road lobbyists were involved in writing hemp legislation in Florida and helped to fund the first hemp pilot project at the University of Florida.

Growing Florida industry

Both Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a former attorney lobbyist who ran on a cannabis-centric platform, and the state's first cannabis director, Holly Bell, say CBD is what customers demand, and that the product will be a boon to the state economy once processors can get a license here.

Bell, who helped grow the hemp industry in Tennessee before moving to Florida, said she sees Florida's starting hemp program getting in step. First with hemp extract products such as CBD oil to keep up with demand, and later a larger infrastructure can be developed to process more industrial-scale crops.

The Florida legislature passed a hemp bill earlier this year that allows the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to create a state hemp program that fits in with a national trend of following what some call the "green rush" of economic opportunities . The new law, which entered into force on July 1, also provides guidelines for those who will eventually sell hemp extract, such as required third-party testing, barcodes for users to scan and examine information, and a statement that the product contains no more than 0.3% THC.

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Fresh Bombs, a company with CBD and spa treatments, showed CBD-infused bath bombs during the US CBD Expo at the Miami Beach Convention Center on August 2, 2019.

Jennifer King


The hemp program comes into effect when the rules get the green light from the US Secretary of Agriculture. The deadline for submitting the rules was Thursday night.

"I think we're going to get farmers to grow high-quality CBD in the first year, the first two years," Bell told the Herald when the state's hemp bill passed. "That's where our focus will be because of market demand."

Even without any legal hemp factories in the state, Florida leads the nation in the production of hemp-based CBD products such as oils, bath bombs and lotions, according to the Florida Hemp Trade and Retail Association.

The interest in having a slice of hemp success became evident this summer as nearly 1,000 people filled rooms at Hemp's regulatory workshops organized by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

"The CBD market, different products for our animals … we know that there are about 35,000 known hemp uses," Fried said after the first Broward County regulatory agency. "Having that opportunity and letting entrepreneurs do what they do and start research is my vision for the state of Florida."

While CBD is very popular and hemp technically allowed under the Farm Bill, the extracted substance is still unregulated at the state level and illegal at the federal level, which Fried is vigilant to highlight.

Regulation in Progress

Last month, the FDA published a document called "What You Need to Know (and What We Work to Find Out)" which states: "We are aware that there may be some products on the market that adds CBD to foods or labels CBD as a dietary supplement. Under federal law, it is currently illegal to market CBD in this way. "

On Fred's department's website, it warns consumers that" CBD products sold Florida is unregulated, untested and without standards for what consumers put into their bodies. ”It highlights reports of falsely advertised products containing harmful additives and little or no CBD, which Fried has repeatedly called a" consumer problem. " during the legislative session, the developing hemp program should eventually stamp a "Fresh From Florida" approval stamp on products that meet consumer requirements.

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At the Hats by Oli booth, attendees could buy straw hats, bags and other accessories decorated with hemp leaves during the US CBD Expo at the Miami Beach Convention Center on August 2, 2019.

Jennifer King


Fried is right. CBD has yet to receive FDA approval for medical use, and the agency as well as local law enforcement has turned down companies selling the stuff.

For example, Natural Life, a Florida CBD business, was attacked twice in Tallahassee for individually packed hemp flower, which contained only a trace amount of THC found in marijuana. Store manager Alex Petrick told the Herald that more than $ 25,000 of the product was seized along with the shooting of security cameras.

Eric Block, who helps run a Colorado-based edible CBD company called Wana Brands, said his company has expanded to six different states and already has a partner set up in Florida.

But since edible CBD products are still illegal in Florida, they have decided to stick.

But he's used to it.

"If you expand into different states, you have to adapt to different rules and regulations and models. There aren't many industries like that, he said." The industry is federally illegal. It's a very weird dynamic that doesn't exist in other industries. "

Samantha J. Gross is a political and political reporter for the Miami Herald, before moving to Sunshine State, covering breaking news at the Boston Globe and Dallas Morning News. [19659054]
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