You’re never far from a hemp plant in the United States. Growing freely by roadsides all over the country, hemp’s presence is undeniable. The plant is often used in the production of hemp CBD products, used for alternative medicating by millions of Americans in all 50 states.
Despite officially being a cannabis Sativa strain, since the hemp being used to make CBD lollipops and CBD vape juice is CBD-dominant and critically has low THC levels, it’s federally defined as hemp and not cannabis – providing the final hemp oil product has less than 0.3 percent, it’s legal to sell. Therefore it can be shipped all over the country and be imported and exported without restrictions.
However, the latest actions from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have thrown these long-held hemp beliefs up in the air. New rulings consider any extraction from cannabis to be “marihuana extract” and therefore Schedule I, making hemp CBD federally prohibited according to the DEA’s definition. Recreational marijuana dispensaries in Alaska are feeling the force of this, with the DEA seizing mail-order hemp-oil in recent raids.
According to an Alaska Dispatch News report, enforcement officers from the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office stormed dispensaries and took all of the CBD genesis wax. The officers claim that since CBD oil is a marijuana product, it must first be tested by the state of Alaska before it can be sold at dispensaries.
Yet if the hemp oil was being sold in a health store, online or anywhere not in a marijuana dispensary, regulators would probably turn a blind eye. There’s not much logic involved here.
Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office acting director, Sara Chambers, said that the investigation into the raids was “ongoing” in a press release. She did not disclose how many dispensaries had been affected.
Green Jar, a dispensary in Wasilla, was subject to a raid, and the store’s co-owner, Caleb Saunders, was bemused by the incident.
“It kind of just felt like a raid,” Saunders told Alaska Dispatch News, explaining that officers took their entire product without as much as a sheet of paperwork.
Arctic Herbery dispensary in Anchorage had hundreds of dollars’ worth of CBD butter seized by officers. However, owner Bryant Thorp was at least relieved they didn’t take the marijuana too.
Saunders said that Green Jar had been stocking hemp oil products with no concerns for several months. CBD products have been great for dispensaries like his, who have yet to receive local government approval to stock cannabis with THC. This makes the seizures even more frustrating for business.
Chambers refused to tell Alaska Dispatch News why officers from the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office seized hemp oil. However, it’s perhaps a good bet that the DEA’s definition of the product will use to support the raids. With the DEA defining hemp oil as marijuana, it needs to be tested before it can be sold. But why are they only interested in hemp oil being sold at marijuana dispensaries, and not every vendor?