The Ohio Board of Pharmacy has ruled that CBD oil and the products it is used in are illegal unless sold by a licensed dispensary.
Sorry to kill your buzz, but in Ohio, cannabis oil is no longer kosher.
Oh, you can buy it any number of places, such as the Columbus Botanical Depot on North High Street or Lucky’s Market in Clintonville, as well as through various online stores and giant e-commerce sites like Walmart.com and Amazon.com. But it isn’t legal, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy said in a ruling posted on its website this week.
“Until dispensaries are operational,” the board wrote, “no one, including board licensees, may possess or sell CBD oil or other marijuana-related products.”
The state’s initial dispensaries have not opened yet, though they were supposed to be ready by September. The state hopes to have them up and running by the end of the year.
CBD is shorthand for cannabidiol, a chemical found in cannabis plants including industrial hemp plants, used to make rope and clothes, as well as marijuana plants. Most of the products use CBD derived from hemp, which contains almost no THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that gives people a high.
As the state wrestles to meet its decision to legalize medical marijuana and get dispensaries and other pieces of the marijuana supply chain in place, the state also is tying up loose ends in what was something of a gray area of the cannabis market: byproducts.
On the shelves of stores like Lucky’s, you’ll find whole hemp sections with hemp honey, CBD oils, skin creams and more.
Clerks at local health stores said they stock the products, but none wanted to go on the record for this story. One local health store buyer, who declined to be quoted, said she had not heard about the pharmacy board’s ruling. She added that the CBD oil products are quite popular.
Sarah Stinnett, CEO of Cannabis Holism, a CBD oil retailer in the Dayton area that sells such products on its website, said she also had no idea about the board’s ruling. She hopes to apply for a dispensary license, given the state’s prohibition.
“I’m sure they will make room for people who sell CBD from hemp as it does not come from marijuana and we carry no THC products in our line,” Stinnett wrote in an email. “If we do not qualify for a dispensary license for any reason, we will only sell to legal states and will filter out Ohio on our website.
“Hopefully, it does not come to that.”
According to The Cannabist, a marijuana news site, Lucky’s, which is based in Colorado where marijuana is legal, has been one of the few chains to stock CBD products in its stores. Another is Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, a fast-growing chain based in Downers Grove, Illinois. Target flirted with the idea last year but abandoned the plan. Kroger and Giant Eagle do not carry CBD products, though Kroger is a large investor in Lucky’s.
Health stores began carrying such items after the 2014 Farm Bill included provisions allowing for the legal production of hemp in the U.S., which opened a gray area for hemp-derived products like CBD. Soon after, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration alerted consumers that it considers all products enriched with CBD oil to be illegal, but enforcement is not robust.
In Ohio, now that medical marijuana is legal, nothing extracted or clipped from a cannabis plant can be bought, sold or owned unless it comes from one of the 56 licensed dispensaries spread throughout the state.
All cannabis products also have to comply with other rules handed down by the legislation that legalized medical marijuana. That means any product derived from cannabis must have a “known source” and show the quantities of active ingredients. The products must also be tested by a state-approved lab.
CBD oil is purported to help treat a number of issues, including anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation and pain. So far, according to WebMD, studies have shown CBD to provide some relief only to those suffering from epilepsy. Earlier this year, the FDA recommended for approval a CBD drug called Epidiolex to treat some forms of childhood epilepsy.