Officials vow to enforce CBD law

Published 2:43 am Saturday, November 24, 2018

State AG issues advisory: only prescription Epidiolex legal in state

Local law enforcement officials said they may start cracking down on businesses that are distributing Cannabidiol, or CBD, after Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued a public guidance on state law earlier this week.

According to the Marshall’s notice, which he said was issued in conjunction with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the Office of Prosecution Services, section 13A-12-211 of the Alabama Criminal Code makes it illegal to sell, furnish, give away, deliver or distribute a controlled substance, including marijuana. A violation of this section is punishable by a Class B felony. Section 13A-12-231 of the Alabama Criminal Code makes it illegal to “traffic” – sell, manufacture, deliver or bring into the state, any part of a cannabis (marijuana) plant in an amount greater than 2.2 pounds. This crime carries mandatory time that increases with the weight of the marijuana in question. The use of the term “marijuana” or “cannabis” in each of the crimes listed includes the marijuana extract cannabidiol, or CBD.

Andalusia Police Department Chief Paul Hudson said that they have had no encounters with CBD oil yet.

“To my knowledge we have yet to encounter CBD oil being sold,” Hudson said. “But if it is illegal we will enforce that law.”

Sheriff Dennis Meeks also stated that his department has not encountered CBD oil being sold.

According to the public guidance issued by the Marshall, selling, delivering or distributing CBD, other than the FDA-approved prescription drug Epidiolex, is illegal under Alabama law. It is illegal for CBD to be sold by any convenience store, gas station, or private individual.

“To be clear, all CBD — whether above or below 3 percent THC—is illegal under Alabama law, except for the prescription drug Epidiolex,” the AG wrote.

Covington County District Attorney could not be reached for comment on Friday, but did post his thoughts on the issues on his office’s Facebook page.

“I’ve been recently challenged about my stance on the enforcement of the illegal sale of CBD oil,” Merrell wrote. “Frankly, the challenges confound me, they range from ‘They sell it on the internet so it must be legal,’ to ‘The person who sold it to me told me it was legal.’ I’m not being sarcastic when I say this, there is a fundamental tenant of the law that states, ‘Ignorance of the law is no defense to prosecution.’”

Merrell said that he does his best to warn citizens about people who want to make money.

“I do my best to warn folks against the predators who just want to make a buck,” Merrell said. “But if you refuse to listen, then the burden falls back on you.”

Merrell said that possessing or selling marijuana is still a crime.