FITCHBURG, Wis. - Tim Obrien proudly displays CBD oil in his shop, Apple Wellness. He believes in the product, citing the benefits for chronic pain, seizures, anxiety and depression.
More importantly, he believes in his right to sell it.
“I totally understand why the public's confused and why law enforcement's confused,” Obrien said. “We're just trying to help people.”
Obrien said his attorney backs him. He said he only sells cannabidiol, or CBD, derived from hemp, which he says is different from CBD derived from marijuana, and hemp CBD is protected.
Not all attorneys agree.
Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson issued a directive to law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for CBD products. She said selling CBD products is illegal for most retailers, following a release from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
"Only a physician or pharmacy may sell CBD if they have an FDA investigational drug permit and approval from the Wisconsin Controlled Substances Board," the release said.
News 3 contacted law enforcement agencies in three different counties – all three said something different.
The chief of the Monroe Police Department in Green County said his department also follows a directive from the district attorney that echoes the Racine County directive – to only permit sales by a pharmacist or physician.
A detective lieutenant with the Portage Police Department said the department hasn't seen any stores selling CBD products, but it also hasn't heard from the district attorney on what to do if officers do come across it.
A spokesperson for the Madison Police Department said its officers won't act without a directive from the district attorney or state Department of Justice. Until then he said the department has bigger drug problems to deal with.
News 3 reached out to the state Department of Justice, which directed us back to the release referenced by both Green and Racine counties. The department didn’t return follow-up calls regarding products derived from hemp versus marijuana.
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