Drug charges against 19 business owners selling CBD products in the Nashville suburbs have been dismissed in what hemp advocates are calling a huge win for the state’s new cannabidiol industry.
The business owners were accused of selling illegal drugs, and 23 shops were padlocked on Feb. 12.
But according to Murfreesboro’s Daily News Journal, prosecutors have dismissed the charges because investigators said they couldn’t determine whether the CBD products, mostly vape pens and infused candies, were derived from legal hemp or illegal marijuana.
The day the stores were padlocked, local authorities wrongly pronounced the products illegal in Tennessee.
“Cannabidiol is an illegal drug being sold in … items that commonly look like candy,” the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department said in a Facebook post.
Tennessee actually allows CBD production, though possession is limited to people with certain medical conditions.
One store owner swept up in the raids says she’s happy the charges were dismissed but isn’t ready to forget the raids and move on.
“I’m elated and angry, very angry,” owner Stacey Hamilton told the newspaper.
“From the moment I found out what they were doing, I knew I had committed no crime.”
Joe Kirkpatrick, president of the Tennessee Hemp Industries Association, says the dismissals may help other businesses trying to navigate legal uncertainty about cannabidiol.
“There’s a lot of pressure off of the industry now that we’ve been vindicated, because these products are legal,” Kirkpatrick told Nashville TV station WZTV.