As mentioned in a previous post on our Omaha criminal lawyer blog, news in the midwest has been full of controversy over cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, and its legality in the United States. Indiana recently cleared up some of the confusion over CBD possession and distribution, hopefully regaining some trust from Hoosiers who felt cheated and disappointed over the conflicting actions of law enforcement in response to the law. Now with Nebraska’s Attorney General issuing a warning over CBD sales in Omaha, shop owners may continue to find themselves in hot water if they protest the legality of their products.
The Truth Behind CBD and Its Legality
An article published by KETV reports on Nebraska Attorney General’s latest memo regarding CBD. According to this memo, cannabidiol (CBD) and any product containing CBD remain illegal within Nebraska’s borders. This memo was issued in response to recent sales of cannabidiol hemp products in Omaha. Store owner Donald Anderson argued the legality of his products saying, “They’re classifying what I’m selling as a marijuana product, which it is not. It is an industrial hemp product.” He continues his point by noting that cannabidiol hemp is legal as long as the THC content is less than 0.3%. If what Anderson argues is true, then Omaha would be caught in a similar state of chaos that Indiana experienced. Unfortunately, the truth behind CBD and its legality may be more complicated than it appears.
CBD and the University of Nebraska Medical Center
Going back to the memo issued by Nebraska’s Attorney General, regular sale and possession of CBD in Nebraska is illegal. The exception is the ongoing study being conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center. UNMC is authorized by state law to see through their four-year-long study on the medical benefits of CBD. This means that UNMC is allowed to distribute CBD for research. The confusion for people like Donald Anderson comes in part from CBD American Shaman believing their products to be legal for sale throughout Omaha shops. Anderson’s statement to KETV was based on this company’s belief that their CBD extracts are industrial hemp products.
What is Industrial Hemp?
Keith Mansur of the Oregon Cannabis Connection dives deeper into some of the confusion behind industrial hemp. A recent article he wrote notes the specifics of industrial hemp and the laws regarding it. He mentions the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that industrial hemp does not include cannabis extracts from flowers and leaves, but rather refers only to mature cannabis stalks, fibers, and seeds. There is also the specific reference to cannabis resin extracts that further complicates things; regardless of which part of the cannabis plant it comes from, products extracted from resin are not considered industrial hemp. Because CBD is extracted from cannabis flowers and their resin, it is thus not included in the industrial hemp product group.
Based on this information, the belief that industrial hemp is legal as long as its THC content falls beneath the benchmark 0.3% is not as simple as it seems; the Agricultural Act of 2014 requires specifically that industrial hemp must only be produced for research by universities and state departments of agriculture. In other words, CBD is considered marijuana, not industrial hemp, and remains illegal to distribute if not for an approved research endeavor.
What’s Next for Omaha and Medical Marijuana
Unfortunately, there may be trouble for those in the Omaha metro that continue to sell their CBD extract products. Even though there is research that shows CBD to have medical benefits, especially for health conditions like epilepsy and chronic pain, it is not approved by the FDA for medical purposes. The FDA and DEA still consider CBD to be an experimental drug, meaning there is an extensive set of standards that must be met by any state wishing to administer it. Though there are states within the U.S. that have “CBD-only” and/or other limited laws regarding the sale and possession of CBD extract, Nebraska is not one of them. In short, store owners in Omaha and throughout Nebraska that are pushing for the legality of their CBD products, citing their low THC content and classification as industrial hemp as basis for legality, may be misinformed.
Though the prospect of legalized CBD distribution looks bleak for Omaha shop owners, there is hope that Nebraska legislature will one day reconsider their policies and follow other states in legalizing medical marijuana – or at the very least, pass laws that make it easier for people to access CBD products for various medical conditions. For now, Omaha residents should proceed with caution when visiting shops selling CBD extracts; they should take care to understand the laws themselves before they find themselves in hot water along with shop owners.
Turn to Omaha Criminal Lawyer Daniel Stockmann for Advice
Understanding the difference between CBD extracts, industrial hemp, and marijuana products can be confusing. Conflicting statements from state legislatures and law enforcement branches, such as those that occurred in Indiana, can make it even harder. Thankfully, citizens of Nebraska can turn to Omaha criminal lawyer, Daniel Stockmann, for guidance. His expertise in marijuana-related drug cases and over a decade of experience make him a valuable asset for anyone needing legal advice. If this is you or someone you know, please fill out the free case evaluation form on this page or call (844) 906-0641 today.