• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 10s

Decision to seize CBD products began with call from postal workers, AMCO says

By Shannon Ballard Photojournalist: Rachel McPherron - 8:17 PM February 10, 2017
ANCHORAGE –

Alaska’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) says there’s more to the story about why it seized several thousand-dollars’ worth of inventory from pot shops around the state.

Acting director Sara Chambers said it all started with a call from the U.S. Postal Service.

AMCO investigators were asked to come take a closer look at a leaking package containing over a 1,000 vials of CBD (cannabidiol) oil, as well as 20 unmarked vials.

Unmarked bottles of a liquid substance. Courtesy Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office

Chambers said it was a clear violation of the law.

“Seeing 20 unmarked vials of an unknown substance that was being packaged to a marijuana retailer was alarming,” Chambers said.

State law requires all marijuana products to be tested, manufactured and packaged in a certain way.

To mitigate what she calls a health and safety risk, Chambers said AMCO enforcement officers were sent into marijuana retail stores across the state to seize all CBD products.

“They don’t meet Alaska’s legal requirements for sale in the state,” Chambers said.

AMCO officers visited seven stores in the Anchorage area, one in Kenai, one in Houston and two in Wasilla.

“They came, grabbed my stuff and left with very little explanation of what was going to happen next,” said Caleb Saunders, owner and CEO of Green Jar, a marijuana retail store located in Wasilla that was raided by regulators Thursday.

Saunders said the regulators told him this would not impact his license. They also said he would be receiving a notice of violation and that the items “would probably be returned next week.”

“When we spoke with retailers, a few were not aware that CBD oil was a regulated product. However, two admitted that they knew it wasn’t legal and were selling it anyway,” said AMCO Chief Investigator James Hoelscher.

When news broke of Thursday’s raids, many people, like CBD distributor Aaron Ralph, were shocked.

“My initial reaction was why?” Ralph said.

He said CBD is a non-psychoactive hemp product often used to manage pain and contains very little THC.

“It is protected under the Federal Farm Bill of 2014 and then also the appropriation act, which states that it can be transported, manufactured and sold anywhere,” Ralph said.

But Chambers said that doesn’t make CBD legal in Alaska.

“It (state law) very specifically says that marijuana concentrates coming from the marijuana plant are considered marijuana product and are therefore regulated by the state,” Chambers said. “The state currently does not have an exemption for industrial hemp or oils that contain a low amount of THC or CBD.”

There’s a bill being introduced this session that would change that, but as of right now the state says CBD cannot be sold legally in retail marijuana stores.

It’s not hard to find CBD products in other places, such as grocery stores. Chambers said that’s not legal either but right now it only has the resources to make sure local pot shops are following the rules.

However, some stores, such as Natural Pantry, have decided to pull the product themselves.

There is a hearing scheduled for next Friday, when the Marijuana Control Board will decide if seized CBD will be destroyed or given back to retailers. Regardless, the state says they will not be able to legally sell it.

KTVA 11’s Shannon Ballard can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Alcohol suspected in serious Seward Highway crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 28, 16:06

    The Seward Highway was completely closed in both directions for about five hours overnight following a crash at mile 76 near Portage Glacier Road. The crash occurred sometime just before 11 p.m. and the road finally reopened to traffic around 4 a.m. Anchorage Police say a northbound BMW crossed over into the oncoming traffic late […]

  • News

    1 dead in head-on Glenn Highway collision

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 28, 15:59

    The Anchorage Police Department’s Traffic Unit is trying to determine what caused an SUV to lose control and cause a fatal crash Saturday. About 15 minutes after midnight Saturday morning, APD says a Chevy Suburban inbound on the Glenn Highway lost control, crossed the center median and struck a Ford Focus head-on. The driver of […]

  • News

    Pedestrian struck, killed on Gambell

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 28, 15:54

    Anchorage Police are investigating a fatal crash involving a pedestrian. Just before 3 a.m. Saturday, a late model Chevy Malibu traveling southbound on Gambell Street struck a pedestrian. Police say the pedestrian, who has not yet been identified, was in the roadway outside of a crosswalk when he was hit. The man was taken to […]

  • Politics

    On first day back, Trump lashes out at ‘fake news media’

    by CBS News on May 28, 14:44

    WASHINGTON — Hours after returning from his first trip abroad as president, President Trump tweeted Sunday morning about “fake news media” and White House leaks. “It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” Mr. Trump said in a series […]

  • News

    US official mulling greatly expanding airplane laptop ban

    by Associated Press on May 28, 11:30

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says he’s considering banning laptops from the passenger cabins of all international flights to and from the United States. That would dramatically expand a ban announced in March that affects about 50 flights per day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East. The current ban was […]

  • News

    Feds: Man jumps from plane after trying to bite attendant

    by Associated Press on May 28, 11:27

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A 22-year-old man jumped out of an airplane waiting to take off in North Carolina and had to be stopped from running onto the runway. A federal air marshal said in a sworn statement that 22-year-old Tun Sein was flying from Charlotte to New Bern on Thursday when he stood after […]

  • Lifestyle

    ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ tops box office, ‘Baywatch’ sinks

    by Associated Press on May 28, 10:54

    LOS ANGELES (AP) – It was smooth sailing to the top spot at the box office for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” but the waters were choppier for the Dwayne Johnson comedy “Baywatch.” Studio estimates on Sunday say the fifth installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise commandeered $62.2 million […]

  • News

    Jet owned by Elvis sold for $430,000 at auction

    by Associated Press on May 27, 19:09

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley has been auctioned after sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 35 years. GWS Auctions Inc. says the plane sold for $430,000 on Saturday at a California event featuring celebrity memorabilia. The auction house says Elvis designed the interior that has gold-tone […]