Sarasota police: Selling CBD products violates of Florida law

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Stores selling CBD products are popping up across the state. CBD products are even being sold by some major retailers, grocery stores, and gas station.

But in Sarasota, police say it shouldn't be sold because it's illegal.

Some store owners are now worried about their future and how they'll continue to help others.

The number of CBD oil enthusiasts grows by the day. Those who swear by it say it can help a number of ailments and, in some cases, just makes the user feel better, overall.

But Sarasota police say there's one problem: “It is not legal,” said Sarasota Police Dept. Narcotics Unit Civilian Investigator Michael Harrell. “CBD is a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant and in the state of Florida under our statues cannabis is the illegal substance.”

Most CBD is produced from hemp - a plant in the same family as marijuana, but with different qualities and classifications.

Unlike marijuana, hemp contains high CBD and low THC - the compound marijuana is known for.

But Sarasota police say CBD oils derived from hemp fall under the definition of cannabis and is not legal under Florida law unless distributed by a medical marijuana treatment center.

“People began selling this product claiming [it was legal] because it had a [THC] content below 0.3 percent when, in fact, that does not play a part in Florida,” said Harrell.

He says once stores started popping, up his unit began investigating.

“We started going out and started picking up a few samples of this at different locations and having the lab test it and, what we were finding, a lot of it did have THC content in it when, it fact, the label said it didn’t,” Harrell

Sarasota police have identified at least two dozen stores in the city to which they'll serve letters, telling them they shouldn't be selling CBD and asking them to stop.

“I feel like there’s a lot of manic panic that shouldn’t be caused,” said Shelby Isaacson, the co-owner of Second and Seed, which is on the police department’s list.

She disagrees with what's happening, saying CBD is misunderstood.

“I think it comes down to educating our community. We’ve offered that multiple times on a county level. We were more than willing to do it on a city level. I think it’s time to sit down and have a conversation,” Isaacson said.

She's scared officers will force her to shut down and she'll no longer be able to help those in need of the product.

“I don’t want to deny people like myself that have been looking for the quality of life that they have, I have been looking for my whole life," she said.

Officers say next week they will begin to hand out those letters, letting stores know they are selling CBD illegally.