‘Operation Kandy Krush:’ Florida sweep finds 68K packages of hemp extract products aimed at kids

Inspection included 475 food establishments across 37 Florida counties

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – An inspection of 475 food establishments in 37 Florida counties uncovered 68,689 packages of hemp extract products that targeted children, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson announced the sweep on Tuesday, saying the week-long investigation targeted the illegal sale of hemp extract products that are attractive to or marketed toward children.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to safeguarding Florida’s children and consumers, we launched ‘Operation Kandy Krush,’ Florida’s most extensive hemp inspection sweep ever,” Simpson said. “Today, we’re proud to announce the results, as we’ve uncovered nearly 70,000 hemp products — including euphoric, high-potency THC products — specifically designed to appeal to children, a blatant violation of Florida Law.”

According to the FDOA, individuals have historically used a loophole in Florida’s hemp statutes to manufacture and sell high-potency hemp products like delta-8 for consumption without restrictions, which includes minors.

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However, Simpson worked with Sen. Colleen Burton and Rep. Will Robinson during the 2023 Florida legislative session to reform Florida’s hemp laws, a release from FDOA states.

The changes include age requirements for the purchase of hemp products and prohibiting marketing strategies for those products that target children.

According to the law, the term “attractive to children” means that the products are manufactured in the shape of humans, cartoons or animals. Additionally, it could mean that the hemp extract products that could be mistaken for branded candy products by children.

No information was provided on where these products were sold or what legal repercussions may arise from the investigation.

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Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.