Following up on news that I shared the other day on Maine shutting down the sale of CBD edibles, another state seems to have joined the fray in a new raid of CBD sellers in Ohio.
As I wrote about in this post, the legality of CBD is a very gray area and it varies state by state. Whatever municipality you live in, be sure to be up to date on the legality in your area before taking products like these.
Why Did Ohio Raid CBD Sellers?
This topic was brought to my attention when I came across this article from cincinnati.com that details the crackdown by state and local officials against CBD sellers in their state. According to a statement from the Cincinnati Health Department, the crackdown is an embargo against products containing cannabidiol in accordance with the state law that establishes Ohio’s medical marijuana program. This law prohibits the sale of such products unless you are one of the state’s licensed dispensaries (of which there are 56).
This may seem contrary to what has happened federally, as the new Farm Bill (detailed here) that was signed late in 2018 made it legal to grow and distribute industrial hemp. However, each state must submit a plan to the federal government in order to license and regulate the hemp industry. This plan must be approved by the USDA before hemp can be legally grown. At this time, Ohio has not yet set regulations for hemp in their state under the 2018 law, so there cannot be any growth or distribution outside of licensed dispensaries that follow the medical marijuana laws – as hemp is not distinguished from other cannabis plants in the state’s medical marijuana laws.
First off, my heart goes out to all of the vendors that are dealing with this, as I’m sure business is booming with the popularity of CBD these days. It was nearly a $1 billion business in 2018 and is projected to multiply over the coming years. I’m sure a lot of these retailers have sunk a lot of money into production and distribution of these products, and it represented a large part of their revenue.
Secondly, I feel bad for all the customers who will be robbed of the benefit of CBD products. I personally use them regularly and they have changed my life, as well as my pet’s well-being. It is terrible that they can’t go to a local store and buy these products anymore.
Luckily, there are tons of e-commerce retailers that provide such products, which you can find a list of here.
In the end, however, the government is just doing what they are supposed to do – enforcing the laws. I hope that the backlash that is coming from these raids will be a catalyst for the state to start drafting their plan under the new Farm Bill so the law is clear and growth and distribution can occur legally. The market is way too big (representing lots of tax revenue) and the benefits are too great to restrict these products any longer.