DOJ releases guidance on CBD oil: Local stores concerned

Legality of producing, selling CBD in question
DOJ releases guidance on CBD oil: Local stores concerned
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel on Friday released guidance to law enforcement agencies on cannabidiol, or CBD, oil and industrial hemp production.

Several local stores, including Apple Wellness in Fitchburg, began selling CBD oil and other products in 2017, after the state legalized the possession of it with a doctor’s note.

“If CBD oil can help these people in a dramatic way on a consistent basis where it’s good for the body, this is a very good thing,” said Tim O’Brien, the owner and executive manager of Apple Wellness. “That’s why I’m passionate about it.”

O’Brien said he hears stories daily from people who say using CBD oil from his store has changed their lives for the better.

The guidance released Friday from the Wisconsin Department of Justice said doctors or pharmacies can sell CBD only if they have an investigational drug permit from the Food and Drug Administration and approval from the Wisconsin Controlled Substances Board.

The state Legislature allows possession and distribution of CBD only if a person has a doctor’s note. according to the DOJ. Possessing or distributing CBD is allowed only under these criteria, DOJ said, and only if it does not have a psychoactive effect.

Retailers first became concerned after the Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center released an analytical note this week calling the legality into question for both those selling CBD products and farmers hoping to extract CBD oil when they start growing industrial hemp.

“Nobody really knows at this point what the outcome’s going to be. So, impact to my company? Huge impact if this goes south,” O’Brien said.

Rob Richard, senior director of governmental relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, called the analytical note “confusing.”

“There’s no clear definition of what they mean by CBD. Is this CBD that is derived from the marijuana plant? Is this CBD that is derived from a hemp plant?” Richard said.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection created a pilot program for licensing growers to produce hemp. The program received more than 300 applications, according to WLUK, a News 3 partner station. The deadline to apply to the program was May 1.

Currently, O’Brien ships CBD in from other states, including Colorado and California. But he said he would love the opportunity to buy it from farmers in Wisconsin, saying there would be a “trickle-down effect to everyone.”

“One of the difficulties is the cost and the price point and, if we have local farmers growing it here, there’s no reason not to believe that price is not going to come down,” O’Brien said.