Chase Smith had just one question after the Orange Beach City Council voted in new restrictions with an ordinance regulating stores selling CBD oils and other products.
“Can we vote on my license now?” he asked.
Smith and Chad Kirkland have been trying since July to get a license to open Lotus Orange Beach in the Rouses shopping center. His application for a business license sparked a moratorium on CBD business licenses as concerns were raised by the police department over regulation of the products.
Your CBD Store had already opened on Canal Road in the Big Fish shopping center and several other stores were already selling items, including convenience stores and several stores at The Wharf.
At first, Smith was told it would likely be two weeks until the next Orange Beach meeting in which the council could take up lifting the moratorium.
Mayor Tony Kennon wanted no part of that.
“He’s paying bills,” Kennon said. “Is there any way at all can we do it right now? He’s paying for another two weeks he’s not open.”
City Clerk Renee Eberly said there was a way to make it happen today and laid out the procedures for getting it done immediately.
“We need a motion to add an item to the agenda and once it’s been added to the agenda you can vote on it,” Eberly said. “Once the moratorium is lifted, he will be able to get his license so there’s not a vote for that.”
Smith received his license the next day.
The new law will apply to every outlet selling the products and mostly centers on verification of the percentage of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are in the same plant family, but hemp only contains about 0.3 percent of THC compared to marijuana, which can contain up to 40 percent THC.
“From all accounts, everybody seems to be OK with where we are heading,” City Administrator Ken Grimes said. “We stopped everything so we could study it. It was just trying to make sure that whatever CBD products are being sold by any retailer have that certificate claiming that third-party lab testing say it’s less than 0.3 percent THC.”
For police, and those who have CBD products, the certification will help avoid confusion over how much THC is in them.
“This puts the officers in a dilemma because it’s a binary test,” Grimes said. “It’s either positive or negative. And that’s the problem.”
With a verification on the product or in a document with the product, citizens can have proof that what they are carrying is not over the legal limit.
“That was our intent,” Grimes said. “If someone has it in their possession and they’re being tested in the field, they can defend themselves and say here is what I have. And it would have that certificate.”
Grimes said it’s going to be a slow process, but city officials will eventually get to all the CBD outlets to make sure the products meet the city’s new ordinance.
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