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Ohio Says CBD is Only Legal at Unopened Dispensaries

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Ohio officials are telling state vendors to take CBD oil off their shelves while the state’s medical cannabis market develops.

Ohio’s State Board of Pharmacy is making its policy on cannabis oil clear, but not how it will enforce that policy. The board is stepping up on its stance that CBD oil, including hemp-derived, is illegal under state law except when extracted or sold through companies participating in the still-forming state program. The program is already behind its Sept. 8 deadline of formation, since there were delays awarding licenses to cultivators following several delays. “It’s frustrating,” said Hemptations owner E.R. Beach.  “Other places are listening to them and are pulling the products from their shelves and the only person who’s being hurt there is the customer.”

The possession of CBD oil, currently seen as a Schedule 1 drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is still protected by the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment. That legislation prohibits the Justice Department from using their funds to interfere with state-regulated medical cannabis laws—in other words, not superseding state medical laws over the federal status of cannabis.

For Ohio residents who are currently using CBD oil for health reasons, that means waiting months while the approved cultivators grow the first harvest. State approved dispensaries and labs aren’t even open for business in the state, which requires cannabis products be tested by state-approved labs and from a known source.

“Roll the dice and pick a product and test it—odds are it won’t be properly labeled or what it says it does,” said Martin Lee, director of Project CBD. “Likely it will have a lot of crap added in there, flavorings and other things that could be toxic.”

“Absolutely we are going to continue to sell,” said Kevin Kidd, owner of The Farmacy, who has sold hemp and CBD products in his natural foods store since 2014. “If they do try to make me stop selling, I would sue them.”