WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — While marijuana is not a legal substance in the state of Kansas, many Wichitans do not have to go far to see cannabidiol (CBD) stores popping up all over town.
These stores sell a plethora of different CBD-infused products, like lotions, creams, and pills that are meant to help relieve pain.
A recent Kansas attorney general opinion, court decision and law change have raised questions for prosecutors and law enforcement as the products, which are frequently sold in smoke shops and even gas stations, proliferate.
One of the main ingredients in these products is Delta-8 THC, which bears a striking resemblance to Delta-9 THC, which is classified as a controlled substance. This has law enforcement somewhat confused about the legality of these stores.
Robert Anderson, an Ellis County Attorney, says that last year, he saw those products as legal.
“At that time, I took a look at the Industrial Hemp Act,” Anderson said. “And it was my interpretation and my belief that those products are lawful.”
Since he took over, however, state legislators have amended the act, and that has made the waters a little murkier.
“The major crucial change is that it no longer distinguishes between Delta-9 THC and any other THC,” Anderson said. “It just says ‘Tetrahydracannabanoid concentration’. I’ve talked to a number of different people just trying to make sense of this amendment and how it fits into all of this. Why would we have these products all over the state of Kansas if they’re illegal?”
Anderson came across a case in October involving the burglary of a Delta-8 store. On top of the burglary charge, they also added a distribution of illegal hemp products charge.
While this one person was given the additional charge, Anderson is unsure if Delta-8-selling businesses will be next in line for the charge.
“This is a perfect opportunity for the legislature to ask them to make all hemp and marijuana and illegal or to make it all legal, just so it’s clear,” Anderson said.
Anderson says the limbo of not knowing for sure what is and isn’t legal is a strain on law enforcement.
“It’s almost impossible for law enforcement officers to figure out which products that they’re coming into contact with are lawful or not. My personal opinion is that marijuana and hemp should be legalized or at a minimum, decriminalized.”