What to Know
- District Attorney Sharen Wilson reiterated her opinion that CBD is illegal.
- In Tarrant County, prosecutors say even THC-free CBD products could lead to a misdemeanor charge.
- A bill introduced Monday in the state legislature would clear up confusion and allow all Texans to possess, buy and sell CBD products.
As North Texans continue to question whether they can use, or continue to use, the popular CBD oil for their aches and pains, one shop owner has decided to take down the product, fearing the possibility of a police raid.
"I don't want to take a chance of somebody coming in and arresting any of my employees," said shop owner Nakomah Hanson, owner of the Southern Cloud Cartel store in Arlington.
Hanson cleared his store of CBD after seeing an NBC 5 investigative report that said the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office considers the hemp-based oil to be illegal, unless obtained with a prescription to treat epilepsy.
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That revelation rattled shop owners – and users – throughout North Texas, and beyond, where CBD has become the newest health craze.
But she added in her statement that "we have not spent, and do not expect to spend, significant resources on cases involving CBD oil."
However, Larry Moore, chief of the Tarrant County DA's criminal division, said last week that if a case is presented to them, "We are going to enforce the law."
"If the police department presents to us a case of somebody illegally possessing CBD oil, we will prosecute the case," Moore said.
Those words shook Jason Johnson, owner of a "Purely CBD" shop in Arlington.
"It was just breathtaking, you know. It’s really a shame," Johnson said.
Johnson has opened eight CBD stores in Tarrant County in the last five months. He said most of his customers are middle aged, who use the oil for pain, anxiety and other health problems.
Johnson said the product he sells contains no THC, the substance in marijuana that produces a high.
But in Tarrant County, prosecutors say even THC-free CBD products could lead to a misdemeanor charge.
"That was huge," said Johnson.
"Do we shut our doors down and tell our customers, 'Hey, we can't help you no more.' Because I've had lots of customers call me, concerned about this," he said.
Johnson said his shops will remain open, because he is convinced CBD that contains no THC is legal.
Meanwhile, Hanson said he felt bad for his customers, as he cleared his shop of CBD, but that he felt the risks were too high to keep it in stock.
"You have a lot of everyday-walks-of-life people who are out here and are nervous and don't know what to do," Hanson said, "and some of these people …have never been in trouble in their lives."
The CBD debate in North Texas has drawn national attention, including a plea from the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, a major advocacy group for the hemp industry, asking the Tarrant County DA, Wilson, to stand down until there's more clarity on what state law says about CBD.
A bill introduced Monday in the state legislature would clear up confusion and allow all Texans to possess, buy and sell CBD products.
The U.S. Hemp Roundtable told NBC5 Investigates that Wilson is the first district attorney from a major metropolitan area to threaten to arrest people for possessing CBD.
The group added that while there have been arrests in other states, most of the cases were resolved once police understood the different between hemp and marijuana.