An Ankeny business owner was arrested for allegedly selling CBD products while unlicensed by the state. According to the county attorney’s office, it is the first charge of its kind in Polk County.
Lacie Navin, 33 was arrested by the Ankeny Police on Wednesday, at her business, Your CBD Store located at 833 E. First St., said spokesperson for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Lt. Heath Osberg.
According to a criminal complaint, officers from the Narcotics Enforcement Task Force from the Mid-Iowa had purchased CBD products twice from Navin’s store. It wasn’t clear in the complaint if the officers were working undercover or were in uniform, and Navin couldn’t be reached for comment.
The first purchase was on October 15 which included a pack of CBD gummies, CBD lotion, and hemp extract oil. According to the complaint, lab testing concluded that all the products contained cannabidiol or CBD.
Officers went to her store again on Monday and purchased another pack of CBD gummies. Navin was arrested and charged two days later with two counts of failure to pay tax on unlawful substance and controlled substance violation.
Osberg said there had been many complaints in multiple counties and that a task force investigation had been conducted on businesses selling CBD in central Iowa. Navin’s arrest was a part of this investigation. Osberg said that while some officers were unable to find cannabidiol at some stores, others warned business owners to remove the CBD products from their shelves.
John Sarcone, Polk County Attorney said that Navin’s arrest was the first time in the county that someone had been charged for selling CBD. Sarcone said he would prosecute cases if any law enforcement officials bring them to his office.
Both Sarcone and Osberg said they didn’t know who had complained against these businesses.
CBD or cannabidiol is a substance derived from hemp, a member of the marijuana, or cannabis family. It is a Cannabis Sativa plant that is used to extract pure hemp oil and typically does not contain a high amount of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis genus plants.
Nathan Blake, Iowa’s deputy attorney general said that despite the growing popularity of CBD, it is still illegal to possess or sell over-the-counter CBD in Iowa. Steven Keymer, the store manager of Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, a national grocery store chain located in the West Des Moines, said that two task force officers visited the store on Monday and told the employees to remove the CBD products from the shelves. The store then sent all their CBD products to the Fresh Thymes stores in the States where CBD is legal.
Keymer said the products sold really well and that it had a huge customer base who wanted that stuff.
CBD in Iowa: Legal or not?
Since the Federal Farm Bill passed in December 2018, which legalized the production of hemp and its derived substances like cannabidiol containing less than 0.3% THC, there has been a lot of confusion around the legality of CBD.
While many people accepted this law with open arms and embraced CBD in their lives, others didn’t seem to quite remove the stigma around it. CBD supporters saw the farm bill as a major step, which paved way for CBD oils, creams and lotions to be sold in stores. From brick and mortar shops to online websites, there’s ample of products containing cannabidiol that come with big medical claims.
The US Department of Agriculture also released new policies and laws that helped govern how farmers can legally grow industrial hemp.
However, under Iowa law, CBD is still a controlled substance and is not legally allowed to sell. The legislature passed the Hemp act making way for cannabis legalization, and Gov. Kim Reynold signed it in May. But the Bill is yet to be approved by the US Department of Agriculture, which might take place in the next year, said Robin Prusiner, hemp administrator for the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
Until the bill is approved, the sale of CBD oil still remains illegal in Iowa, except for a small number of approved pharmacies. Even if CBD is eventually removed from the list of controlled substances, not all CBD based products will be legal because the US Food and Drug Administration has yet to set a regulatory guideline and permissibility of ingestible CBD products like gummies.
Prusiner said that while CBD lotions may become legal, CBD candies would not. He further said it’s the wild west of CBD where it’s production is legal but the consumption and testing of it are not.