It seems that Rutherford County is unaware that CBD is not only legal in all 50 states, but is non-psychoactive. Ignorance of the law is no defense, but when the law is ignorant there is equally no defense. 23 Rutherford County businesses were padlocked Monday after being accused of selling candy containing "a derivative of marijuana." The LEAs and LEOs involved were likely unaware that 50-state legal CBD is generally derived from hemp and not cannabis.
Regardless of whether they were in the right or not, 21 people have been indicted in "Operation Candy Crush" according to a Rutherford County Sheriff's Office press release. The candies were being sold in stores throughout Murfreesboro, Smyrna and La Vergne according to the press release.
Mike Fitzhugh, Rutherford County Sheriff claims that the gummy bears were a "synthetic drug" and claimed that they can be dangerous for children. CBD is not only non-lethal and side effect free but is entirely non-psychoactive (unlike, for instance caffeine or the energy drinks that many teens and children use).
"They spray them with this illegal substance, and then they repackage them," Fitzhugh said then noting that there had been two deaths in the US linked to synthetic drugs. Synthetic drugs like bath salts and synthetic cannibanoids are certainly dangerous substances and should be banned, but Fitzhugh admits that these products contained CBD. CBD oil has been shown to be effective as an anti-epileptic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and may be beneficial for other conditions as well.
CBD is a cannibanoid, like THC, but unlike THC does not inebriate or intoxicate the user. The lack of education of the District Attorney and Sheriff's Office presiding may not be criminally negligent, but is certainly a shame.
<blockquote>"We feel these stores are marketing these items toward minors," Fitzhugh said in the release. "These items can commonly be confused by a child as candy and are illegal."</blockquote>
Daily News Journal reports that CBD is a "Schedule VI narcotic." The issue of CBD's legality is <a href="https://hightimes.com/news/politics/dea-cbd-oil-is-not-legal-in-all-50-states/">somewhat of a gray area still</a>. The DEA even tried to ban hemp food products in the early 2000's. To this day, the DEA is attempting to question the legality of CBD products, even those derived from hemp, despite the fact that hemp oil and it's derivatives have been legal federally for years and there is no mention of CBD in the Controlled Substances Act.
In Tennessee, even CBD oil containing up to 0.9% THC (more than the "negligible" amount found in hemp derived CBD products) is <a href="http://libguides.law.uga.edu/c.php?g=522835&p=3793275">legal, but only under certain circumstances.</a>
<blockquote>On May 16, 2014, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed SB 2531 into law. The bill allows the use of cannabis oil containing cannabidiol (CBD) that has less than 0.9% THC "as part of a clinical research study on the treatment of intractable seizures when supervised by a physician practicing at… a university having a college or school of medicine." The study is authorized for four years.</blockquote>
At the press conference they even had the gall to compare a non-psychoactive, non-addictive natural product with multiple nutritive benefits in addition to it's medicinal application to what is often called in Tennessee and other states "hillbilly heroin."
<quote>"There are many things that are illegal to possess without a prescription," including the drug Oxycontin, District Attorney General Jennings Jones said.</quote>
"If you possess this without a prescription, you have broken the law," Jones said. "If you are selling this without a prescription or if you're not a pharmacy selling it to someone with a prescription for it, you have broken the law."
The Rutherford County Sheriff's office worked with agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, DEA and FBI on the sting. Judging from packaging the products were clearly labelled as hemp derived CBD gummy bears. The details are still foggy for now, if and only if the products were either dangerous synthetic cannabinoids (in which case they would not be CBD products) or THC containing, marijuana derived products (in which case, why would they be marketed as CBD) then a law was obviously broken here. If not, then these stores were shut down for carrying a benign and non-psychoactive. And though that's not a crime, in this reporter's opinion, it certainly should be.