The Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) has raided some of the state’s weed stores and confiscated a number of CBD products. The oils, salves, lotions and other CBD concentrates, were taken because the imported products did not meet state regulations.
“The Marijuana Control Board and AMCO staff will be managing this developing situation with the utmost care and concern,” a press release from Sara Chambers, the acting director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office said. “Specific details cannot be released at this time because of the ongoing investigation. Further details will be released as they become available to ensure that licensees and the public are fully educated and informed as to what the law requires concerning sale of marijuana products.”
In Alaska’s generally lenient marijuana laws, CBD is considered a marijuana product, to be regulated in the same manner as flowers and THC products. But Alaskans have long treated CBD oils separate from the psychoactive THC products - similarly to products made of raw hemp, like clothing and paper.
At the Alaska Cannabis Exchange, CBD oils come from the processing of these raw hemp products in the continental U.S., and are federally legal, falling into the same industrial hemp category as RAW papers and Woody Harrelson’s favorite t-shirts.
But because those oils don’t go through Alaska’s state regulations, that makes them illegal under state law to sell in stores. For owners of Alaska’s retail marijuana shops, the difference in state and federal laws has caused confusion, and now, the loss of product.
“It was my understanding that hemp products and this product in particular were ok,” Lily Bosshart, owner of Anchorage retail shop Dankorage, who was contacted by the AMCO, told the Alaska Journal. “I was unaware that this would be an issue. I wouldn’t be selling it if I thought it would be a problem.”
The question is one that has been asked many times around the country, and is currently the focus of a bill recently introduced to Congress: Should CBD be considered in the same legal conversation as THC? For Alaskan authorities, the picture isn’t quite clear yet.
“’What is this product? We need to find out what it is,’” Harriet Milks, AMCO’s legal counsel said. “If it’s a marijuana product under our law I think we have a problem because it doesn’t seem to be packaged or tested or tracked according to Alaska regulations…if it’s not marijuana under our law, that’s a different story.”
But until they do figure it out, CBD products have been confiscated from Alaska’s shops, leaving retailers, and customers out of luck.
"They took all our product. They didn't give me any paperwork for anything they took.” Caleb Saunders Owner of Wasilla-based retail store Green Jar told the Alaska Dispatch News. “It kind of just felt like a raid. They just came in.”