Ankeny, IA—A Des Moines woman was arrested Thursday after police said she sold illegal cannabidiol (CBD) products in her stores, according to KCCI Des Moines. The arrest took place at Your CBD Store in Ankeny, which is part of a national chain of CBD stores selling hemp oils, edibles, and drops.
Des Moines Register reported that on October 15, officers from the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force purchased several products from the store—a pack of CBD gummies, hemp extract oil, and CBD lotion—which were sent to a lab for testing and shown to contain CBD. Officers went to the store again on Monday and purchased another pack of CBD gummies; two days later, they arrested the retailer and charged her with two counts of controlled substance violation and failure to pay tax on an unlawful substance.
KCCI quoted Polk County Sgt. Heath Osberg as saying: “Any part of marijuana, whether it’s oils or THC or a mixture of the plant itself, any of those is considered marijuana. In the state of Iowa, marijuana is illegal. If you don’t have the state-issued medical card and you’re not getting it from one of the five dispensaries here in Iowa, it’s illegal and you can be subject to charges.” He added: “Going to a legit store, looks like legit merchandise, but it’s black and white in the code books that it’s illegal here in the state of Iowa.”
Des Moines Register noted that the arrest was part of a task force investigation of businesses selling CBD in central Iowa that began after complaints had been filed in multiple counties. The report added that Osberg said that officers were unable to find CBD at some stores, while at others officers warned owners to remove the products from their shelves or face charges.
KCCI quoted a statement by Scheril Murray Powell, the attorney representing Your CBD Store’s parent company: “It is truly unfortunate that the Mid-Iowa Nacrotics Enforcement Task Force has decided that the best use of its time is to target small business owners. Law enforcement must make sure that the laboratory testing used to determine criminality must be accurate. We fear that this responsibility was neglected in this case.”
The Register reported that, while Osberg did not say which other stores had been investigated, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in West Des Moines was visited by two plainclothes officers with the task force and informed that the products needed to be removed from shelves.
Fresh Thyme told WholeFoods Magazine in a statement: “We believe CBD products provide real help to people who need them to relieve pain and anxiety and for wellbeing. We continue to work with our industry-leading vendors to educate the public, legislators, and law enforcement about these products and their safety. Of course, we follow local laws and regulations at all times.”
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Campbell’s Nutrition, a health food store in Urbandale and Des Moines that has sold CBD products for four years, was approached by Des Moines police about CBD products once in June and once in September, according to the Register. Store owner Diane Lahodny told the paper that she showed the officers certifications that her products contained zero THC. When they asked her to remove products from her shelves, she asked which ones, and they “expressed confusion, then left and didn’t return.” Lahodny stopped her CBD sales after hearing the news of the arrest at Your CBD Store.