Support is growing for a North Georgia business owner arrested for selling marijuana from his shop.
Stevie Ellis says he was only selling legal CBD products, not marijuana.
For now, Ellis won’t even step foot inside his business The Shop by Stevie and The Moon.
“I’m afraid to go in my store because I don’t know what I’m allowed to sell and what I’m not allowed to sell,” Ellis said.
Last Thursday was a normal workday, until officers with the Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force raided his shop.
“At first I was like OK this is some kind of weird joke.”
Ellis says officers told him a customer reported failing a drug test.
“They asked me questions about selling marijuana, and I was like ‘I sell CBD products.'”
Ellis says the products he sells only contain the legal amount of THC allowed at 0.3 percent, or don’t contain any THC at all.
He says authorities told him at least one of his products tested positive for marijuana.
“There’s third party lab testing from all the companies I use to make sure this doesn’t happen.”
Ellis was arrested that day, charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, and violating probation.
“I do have a past and I figured this would be my way too be able to help people,” Ellis said about opening his business.
A GoFundMe page has raised more than $2,000 for his legal bills.
“The community support has been astronomical,” Ellis said. “Thank you, and I appreciate every single person that’s contributed in any way.”
One man supporting Ellis is fellow business owner Josh Manning.
“Georgia just needs to get on the same board the federal government is on,” Manning said.
Manning says CBD oil changed his life.
“It helped me a lot with pain, anxiety, personal issues…I was in a motorcycle wreck about five years ago,” Manning said. “I lost my right leg, and have bad nerve damage to my body.”
Manning originally sold CBD products at the I-75 flea market in Rossville for eight months, until authorities stepped in earlier this year.
“The Catoosa County detective came in and said we couldn’t sell any products that were ever derived from any cannabis plant,” Manning said. “I was flabbergasted, I had no idea that would have been an issue at all.”
A Dade County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson says CBD products are legal to sell in Georgia as long as they contain less than .3 percent of THC.
He referred questions about Ellis’ case to the Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force.
The task force declined to comment today, and said Ellis’ arrest report is considered private because it’s under the group’s investigation.
No other sheriff’s offices have replied to our requests for comment.