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GHC Opinion: "KY was first in Country to arrest and charge someone for CBD product, in legal hemp state. A KY judge issued a warrant for CBD specifically. This story got little to no notice and since has been resolved but people still insisting that "hemp is legal to sell and consume in all 50 states" or CBD is legal in all 50 states are completely false and misleading. There also seems to be a underlying feeling in the hemp industry that they should not talk or discuss issues experienced, specially with law enforcement, or they will be discredited or seen in negative light. This needs to stop. United we stand, divided we fall."
On April 21st, producers, retailers, and consumers of cannabidiol (CBD) in Kentucky breathed a sigh of relief as word spread that the charges against a Princeton tobacco store owner had been dropped.
In early February, the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force, in conjunction with Princeton Police Department, executed a search warrant at the Princeton Smoke Shop, located on North Harrison Street. Law enforcement seized three individual packages of gummy candy, which contained cannabidiol, or CBD, a component of the cannabis plant that is shown to have numerous health benefits, but no psychoactive effects. Security cameras, an unspecified amount of cash, and hard drives were also confiscated.
Although many hemp producers and their legal teams cried foul, there was little that could be done immediately. Store owner Pankajkumar Patel was charged with trafficking marijuana, and had no choice but to navigate the legal system and prove that his product was legal. Today, hemp advocates learned that those charges have been dropped.
Jonathan Miller, Member in Charge at Frost, Brown, Todd in Lexington, who also served on the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission has been a key player in the effort to legalize industrial hemp. “I commend local law enforcement for studying the facts and the science and understanding that hemp is not only an exciting economic opportunity for Kentucky farmers, but that it is a legal agricultural commodity,” Miller said. “This incident proves an important point: the more people are educated about hemp, the more the myths are dispelled, the more promising it becomes as an important crop for our Commonwealth.”
While the February incident raised some concerns about legality of hemp extracts, those concerns were dispelled with the passage of SB218. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Damon Thayer of Georgetown and signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin, clearly defines hemp products as any part or derivative of the cannabis plant, as long as it remains below 0.3% THC. The bill also clarifies that hemp products may be sold in Kentucky and exported into any state where hemp is legal (hemp is legal to sell and consume in all 50 states.) This language should prevent such devastating mistakes in the future, as all hemp products are now written into law with certainty.