1. Opinion

Joe Henderson: The sale of CBD oil will soon be legal in Florida. It's about time.

A water-soluble CBD product is offered at the Your CBD Store in Largo. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published Jun. 26

Mentioning the word "marijuana" in this state will set fire to the hair of most lawmakers. Florida's emergence from a state of reefer madness has been, shall we say, tentative.

It took a constitutional amendment in 2016 to legalize the use of medical marijuana because for years Tallahassee lawmakers seemed to believe anyone using pot for pain relief had to be a drug-addicted zombie from Woodstock.

Even after voters overwhelmingly approved medicinal marijuana, Tallahassee's response has been to stall, stammer, and erect as many roadblocks as possible for its use — including a silly provision that patients couldn't smoke the drug.

Gov. Ron DeSantis set them straight when he all but ordered the Legislature to get off its high horse and let the will of the voters carry the day. It's a start.

Society did not collapse.

So, it's on to the next step. On Monday, July 1, the sale of CBD oil will become legal in Florida. CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is an active ingredient in marijuana. It won't get you high, but proponents say it will make you feel better.

It is said to be useful for treating ailments like arthritis and chronic pain, epilepsy seizures, anxiety, insomnia, and even high blood pressure. Many people swear it's a wonder drug, although scientists are running tests to see how effective it really is.

It's kind of the wild west with the oil now. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a former medical marijuana lobbyist, said her office is establishing guidelines for what can or can't be sold as CBD oil. For at least a little while, buyers should beware.

This stuff has been around for a long time and appeared to be readily available, even if it wasn't legal in Florida. You probably remember the case of the 69-year-old grandmother who was arrested and spent 12 hours in jail after a bottle of the magic oil was found in her bag during a security check at Disney World.

The woman is from North Carolina, where it is legal. She appeared stunned to find out the rules were different in Florida.

Prosecutors quickly dropped the charges, but the damage was done. Becoming the star of the 6 o'clock news while being led away in handcuffs over a small bottle of oil will ruin a day at The Mouse.

Frankly, I never understood the hysteria over pot.

Do you know that in Florida, you can go to jail for up to one year for merely possessing 20 grams or less of weed?

That's insane.

I wouldn't be surprised if many of the same people who say that weed is the devil's tool knock off a couple of beers or scotch whiskeys after work or play. And for pain relief, everybody knows the best way to address that is with a bottle of opioids so Big Pharma can increase profits.

That's sarcasm, by the way.

Fried told Orlando Weekly that statistics show medical pot has a positive impact on the opioid crisis.

"We've seen statistics all across that the country that any time there's a medical marijuana program, or even when they get to legalization, there's a 20 to 30 percent decrease in opioid overdoses," she said.

But now that medical marijuana is legal and CBD oil is about to be, what's next?

Powerhouse Orlando attorney John Morgan is pushing for a constitutional amendment to join 11 other states and legalize recreational marijuana. A bill that would have done just that died in the Legislature this year without even a hearing, but the issue isn't going away.

It shouldn't.

One step at a time, though, and the next step is CBD oil. It seems like it might be something worth trying.

Maybe it can help my balky rotator cuff.

Contact Joe Henderson at


  1. Ayana Lage, 26, and Vagner Lage, 27, pose with a sonogram of their unborn child. Ayana writes openly about going through a miscarriage due to the baby having a rare genetic defect. She wonders why more women don't discuss their miscarriages. JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |  Times
    Sunday’s letters to the editor
  2. Kreshae Humphrey, 26, applies ointments to the skin of her 3-year-old daughter, Nevaeh Soto De Jesus, after bathing her in bottled water. The parents bathe all three of their girls with bottled water because they believe the children were sickened by the tap water at the Southern Comfort mobile home park off U.S. 19 in Clearwater. The family is suing the park's owner over the issue, but the owner and the state say there are no problems with the drinking water there. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    The story of a Clearwater mobile home park and its water issues reflects a systemic breakdown.
  3. A long stretch of US 98 remains closed for repairs in Mexico Beach on Friday, September 27, 2019, almost one year after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the small coastal town. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Time is running out, so let’s get practical, says Craig Fugate
  4. Earlier today• Opinion
    FROM PRINT: Adam Goodman, national Republican media consultant
    Sure, fix capitalism’s flaws, but a wealth tax is not the way. | Adam Goodman
 CLAY BENNETT  |  Chattanooga Times Free Press
  6. A view of the downtown St. Petersburg skyline and waterfront from over Tampa Bay.
    The news that the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation wants to change its name to include “Tampa Bay” has been met with resistance.
  7. Catherine Rampell, Washington Post columnist.
    Allegations of political cowardice can seem rich coming from candidates unwilling to acknowledge the obvious truths about things such as higher taxes. | Catherine Rampell
  8. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, former Vice President Joe Biden, center, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., raise their hands to speak during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Westerville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
  9. Yesterday• Opinion
    Letters to the Editor Graphic TARA MCCARTY  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Saturday’s letters to the editor
  10. Boats docked at Central Marine in Stuart are surrounded by blue green algae in June 2016. [The Palm Beach Post]
    The Legislature should step up and stop pollution at its source, write Howard Simon and John Cassani.