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CBD-related Charges Dropped Against McKenzie County vape shop owner

charges against McKenzie County vape shop owner dismissed

According to the documents filed with the Northwest Judicial District, charges against a McKenzie County vape shop owner filed in 2017 with allegations of possessing and selling CBD oil products from his stores have been dismissed. 

Last year, Falesteni Ali Abuhamda submitted an Alford plea for several cannabidiol or CBD oil sales fees from his two Tobacco Depot shops. A substantial number of products containing CBD oil had been confiscated by police from Alexander and Watford City stores, along with vapor pens.

Among the several charges that were filed against Abuhamda in May 2017 were possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of hashish, manufacturing drug paraphernalia, possession of controlled substances within the proximity of a school (1,000 feet), and unlawful advertisement of the drug paraphernalia. 

The court documents dated in July states that both parties agree to the dismissal of all seven charges held against the alleged “with prejudice,” this implies that a subsequent case can’t be brought on the same claim. 

Falesteni, also known as Phil Hamda, said he plans to open a hemp shop in Alexander. 

Hamda had brought his case to the Supreme Court of North Dakota, who heard the case previously this year. Although the right to appeal was specified in the plea agreement, the tribunal held that it had no jurisdiction to hear a case in which pre-trial diversion was the result and that Hamda had not correctly maintained his right to appeal.

Deanna Longtin, who was at the time Hamda’s attorney, had stated at a preliminary hearing in Oct. 2017 that the CBD Hamda was selling was derived from industrial hemp, which had minimal traces of THC. Tetrahydro cannabinoid is the psychoactive component found in marijuana and without its significant concentration, no CBD product can be labelled as illegal. 

Kevin Chapman, who took over the case not long after Hamda lost his appeal to the Supreme Court of North Dakota, said it was also the most crucial point he wanted to make. CBD or cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive and anti-inflammatory compound found in cannabis plants which is completely different from THC. 

Unlike THC, CBD does not have any psychoactive effects on the user: it doesn’t cause any high. Rather CBD is widely popular for treating stress, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, seizures, acute pains, aches, inflammation, swelling etc. Many people believe in the medical benefits of CBD and have replaced it with anti-depressants, opioids, and other prescription drugs already. 

Despite the federal government legalizing hemp-derived cannabinoid (CBD), the Food and Drug Administration have prohibited companies from promoting or advertising CBD products in any manner claiming health benefits. The agency says that irrespective of the “health benefits” that CBD is associated with, there is still a long way to go before they legalize it for public consumption. 

The agency said it is their first priority to safeguard the public against any possible addiction or health threats that CBD might possess. If it’s more potent than medicines that have been in the pharmaceutical industry since decades, there needs to be a reason for it and a proper explanation to its concentrations, research on how it interacts with the human body and other medications as well. 

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Chapman said that the prosecution held against Hamda never really proved that there was anything illegal in his store. No testing was performed to identify and evaluate whether any of the products confiscated contained more than 0.3% THC or not. 

Yet, Hamda was arrested and charged anyway. 

Chapman went on to explain that Hamda was portrayed as a culprit, a drug dealing criminal and the news was splattered across the newspapers, broadcasted over radio that spoke at lengths about how Hamda was “guilty”. 

Chapman said that CBD has always been amidst confusion since it is related to cannabis. The stigma attached to marijuana corrupts the reputation of CBD as well. Bottomline is that CBD does not produce any high like marijuana, and also after the federal government legalized it, the substance is legal to produce, process, sell and consume. 

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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