First it was Indiana, now Idaho is making things a tad bit difficult for the CBD industry. A small-business owner with hopes of selling CBD aka Hemp Oil in anti-marijuana Idaho has found himself in conflict with local officials who say selling such products might just be illegal in Idaho.
Business owner, Michael Larsen applied for a building permit earlier this year with the goal of transforming a commercial space in the tiny community of Garden City, right outside the capital of Boise, into a retail store called Welcomed Science that would sell dietary supplements.
Plans came to a screeching halt when City Attorney Charles Wadams denied the application on the basis that CBD (cannabidiol) is illegal in Idaho.
It all seems to go back to a 2015 State Attorney General’s opinion stated:
Oils extracted from cannabis plants are considered a controlled substance. However, the opinion included a key exemption: Such products can be considered legal in Idaho — as long as they contain no THC, the intoxicating component in marijuana.
CBD comes is derived from cannabis but contains little to no THC. CBD is being touted as a supplement that can help reduce stress, alleviate pain and improve skin health.
Currently, 18 states allow use of “low THC, high CBD (cannabidiol) aka Hemp Oil” products for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense. Nearly 30 states allow for some type of medical use of marijuana.
However in 2013 a resolution was passed by Idaho lawmakers vowing the Statehouse would never legalize marijuana for any purpose.
According to public records, Garden City’s decision to deny Larsen’s permit has resulted in a back-and-forth legal battle for months on whether his products contain THC.
Larsen maintains they do not.
Wadams says the city is waiting on Larsen’s vendor to provide an independent sample to Garden City police for testing. The city also wants Larsen to provide an affidavit from an expert showing that Larsen’s products are legal to sell in the state of Idaho.
Larsen’s attorney, Joe Filicetti points out that similar products containing CBD already are being sold in the state, and that the requests being made of his client are unwarranted. He notes that a CBD oil store opened in Sandpoint, Idaho about eight hours north of Garden City in 2016. He said Sandpoint officials have welcomed the business, which sells CBD vapor and tinctures.
Filicetti told Larsen’s vendor that local authorities there were “absolutely ridiculous” in their understanding of CBD, and said City Attorney Wadams was getting advice from “every law enforcement entity in the state” on how to block Larsen’s business.
Wadams denies the claim stating, “The city’s position is based on its own independent conclusion that before issuing a building permit, it is obligated to verify that the CBD oil products in question are legal.”
CBD and Idaho just do not get along. The state is just not interested in it. Being Republican-dominated, it has remained steadfast in its strict anti-marijuana laws despite bordering three states — Nevada, Washington and Nevada — that have legalized recreational pot.
Through a tiny window of acceptance, Idaho lawmakers passed legislation in 2015 that would have allowed children with severe forms of epilepsy to use CBD. That bill was vetoed by Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, who received pressure from state law enforcement groups fearing it would lead to further loosening of state drug laws.
CBD advocates are not lying down and have promised to renew the CBD oil legalization fight in 2018.
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