Certain cannabidiol products have disappeared from shelves at Jackson Whole Grocer and Lucky’s Market after the stores received a visit from police.

An ongoing investigation has sparked a debate on the legality of the substance in Wyoming.

After being told the store would face charges if they didn’t pull CBD products, employees at Whole Grocer complied.

“They were very kind,” Whole Grocer Vice President and General Manager Tom Scott said. “They didn’t come in here guns blazing.”

The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation claims a product the stores were selling contains traceable amounts of THC, which it says makes it illegal to possess or sell.

“They gave us seven days to get rid of it,” Whole Grocer Herbalist Heather Olson said. “We’re sad to see it go. It’s a great category for our department. It was a huge move forward for herbal medicine. But psychoactive chemicals in the product are not appropriate in Wyoming.”

DCI agents say the only exception to possessing THC in Wyoming is if you have a “hemp extract registration card” issued by the Wyoming Department of Health.

Those cards are rare, state officials said.

One of the CBD products police say is testing positive for THC comes from CV Sciences, a CBD hemp-oil manufacturing and distributing company.

“We will address this like any issue with our lobbyists and attorneys,” said Josh Hendrix, director of business development at CV Sciences. “It should be an easy conversation. But we need clear-cut legislation.”

Hendrix disagrees with DCI on the product’s legality.

“We don’t get our products from marijuana,” he said. “This has happened enough times that the misinterpretation gives us an opportunity to educate.”

Olson said the product is popular with Whole Grocer customers. She turned away half a dozen customers on Tuesday alone. More than 50 bottles are now in a cardboard box in the back of the grocery store.

CBD is often used by people who suffer from epilepsy, anxiety, depression, seizures and chronic pain.

Olson said the stores will rely on the CBD companies to send certificates of analysis to confirm none of their other products have THC in them.

Lucky’s Market also took products off shelves last week.

“We’ve pulled the products in a gesture of good faith,” said store director Chris Martinez. “There were multiple brands we had to pull.”

The Division of Criminal Investigation said lab analysis confirmed the presence of THC in “many of the items” it received.

According to CV Sciences, CBD oil is derived from agricultural hemp, does not make you high and has “a remarkable safety profile.”

The World Health Organization does not consider it a controlled substance.

“Cannabidiol does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm,” its website states.

A World Health Organization expert committee continues to review the extracts.

DCI Operations Commander Ronnie Jones told the News&Guide that his agents have been collecting CBD around Wyoming since late last year.

“We are still conducting an investigation,” Jones said.

DCI Deputy Director of Operations Forrest Williams said the investigation began because of inquiries from the public and law enforcement officers about CBD’s legality.

“We have bought from stores in Casper, Cheyenne, Laramie, Gillette, Rock Springs, and whatever products we’ve bought we submit them to the lab for testing, and if it contains any amount of THC it’s illegal,” Williams said.

Jones wouldn’t say that the ongoing investigation is a priority for DCI. But several agents around the state are involved.

“They are wasting their time,” Hendrix said. “This is a very disruptive thing. Cannabis has been demonized for so long. I’ve grown hemp on my farm. You can’t get high off it.”

Hendrix says the investigation is based off misinformation.

“They have bigger things to worry about,” he said. “There are hard drugs on the steeets. This doesn’t harm anyone. It helps people.”

Hendrix says his company plans to clear it up any confusion surrounding levels of THC in their products and where it comes from.

“It’s kind of like decaf coffee or Kombucha,” Hendrix said. “There are kids that take this product.”

Contact Emily Mieure at 732-7066, courts@jhnewsandguide.com or @JHNGcourts.

Emily Mieure covers criminal justice and emergency news. She also leads the News&Guide’s investigative efforts. She has reported for WDRB TV in Louisville, Ky., WFIE TV in Evansville, Ind., and WEIU TV in Charleston, Ill.

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(6) comments

laurie bush

No wonder your dispatch is getting fake emergency calls. They are trying to give you something better to do! This is fantastic idea for people with the symptoms listed without relying on the use opioids or benzodiazepines!

Roy Garton

[thumbdown] When Wyoming comes out of the dark ages, let me know..my wife suffers from Addisons, PTSD, and pinched nerves in her neck which hemp oil with THC helps with. As Florida and soon TN wakes up to reality, I would hope Wyoming would as well. I don't fault the police just backwards laws that need to be changed.

Michael Jones

It’s important that the store management pulled down the hemp-based CBD oil from the shelves on the advice of the police, but it would have been more important, had the pulled down the illegal products on their own. The customers should source their medical CBD oil products more cautious and only from licensed dispensaries after getting recommendations from reputed licensed clinics like Online Medical Card, https://www.onlinemedicalcard.com/

Gregory Miles

Yes.... Wyoming you are smarter than this. What a huge waste of taxpayer dollars and resources. It’s time for our legislators to grow up and get over it!

rich quinlan

I dont smoke with Willie , but outlawing this stuff is simply ignorant. If it can provide any relief to those suffering they should have access to it. Come on Wyoming youre smarter than this

dave johnson

Has there been any documentation of people being addicted to this product? If not , they might consider using opiods..!!! SARCASAM !

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