A bill to legalize products containing cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabis compound also known as CBD, was defeated by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. While the Laramie Police Department tries to work with local businesses to allow them to sell CBD products proven to contain 0 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, one business owner expressed his frustrations at the bill’s failure, which keeps one of his top-selling items heavily regulated.
“It is a big impact on my business,” said Jeff Craven, owner of Up in Smoke II on Third Street. “Even more frustrating, Trump comes out and says anything 0.3 percent [THC] or under is classified as industrial hemp and can be shipped to every state — except Wyoming, because if they detect THC in it, they’ll throw you in jail.”
Lt. Gwen Smith with LPD said it’s legal for Laramie businesses to sell products containing CBD – as long as no traces of the illegal, psychoactive cannabinoid THC are found during routine state testing.
“The Drug Task Forces around the state, especially here in Laramie, have gone to different stores that have CBD, legally purchased [CBD products] and have them tested at the state lab to confirm that they had no THC in them,” Smith said.
Smith added if the testing shows any of the products contain any amount of THC, the businesses are notified and given time to fix the issue.
“All of the businesses in Laramie complied 100 percent with removing those once they found out that, even though all of the labels said 0 percent, that was not correct,” Smith said.
She added many CBD products that claim to have 0 percent THC end up testing positive for trace amounts, making it hard for businesses to trust labeling.
Despite the heavy regulations, Craven said CBD products are some of his store’s most popular items.
“It has taken over and become the second biggest category in my shop,” Craven said. “We sell about $17,000 a month in just CBD alone.”
Up in Smoke II has a shelf full of CBD products, including salves, tinctures and vapor pens. Craven said it’s not just college students who are interested in CBD; he said many older customers, too, are looking for the relief CBD provides from chronic pain, overprescribed narcotics and mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
“CBD has helped so many of my friends, family, regulars — I see how it impacts people,” Craven said. “There’s a lot of people in this town 60 years old and way older that are CBD customers.”
Craven said he’s been forced by LPD to stop selling some of the most popular brands, like Charlotte’s Web, because they failed state testing.
“I had to remove my two biggest sellers within 10 days or be faced with being arrested and sent to prison,” Craven said.
He added a 30-milliliter bottle could have just 500 milligrams of CBD in it, but LPD charges based on the weight of the product containing THC, not the THC content itself. Craven said if even just one of his many bottles contained THC, it would result in a felony.
“If they did [measure by THC content] it would be less than a fraction of a drop in there,” Craven added.
Smith said LPD tries to enforce the law without hindering Laramie’s small businesses.
“Laramie has great small businesses here, and they always have worked and I’m sure will continue to work with us — just like we work with them — to make sure that all of us are doing the best we can for the people in our community and those that travel through,” Smith said.
When it comes to personal possession of CBD products, Smith said it would be “up to the discretion of the officer” who finds the product to determine if it has THC in it.
“We don’t want to write tickets or arrest people unless we’re sure that they’ve violated the law,” Smith said. “I think that they would err on side of making sure that there was THC in the product before they wrote anything up.”
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