A city in Central Texas has repealed its standpoint that a local shop selling cannabidiol oil and vape did not meet the definition of essential business. Therefore, it was initially ordered to close down following the restrictions designed to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The small municipality enclosed by Waco, the City of Beverly Hills, sent an email last March 31 telling Fatty’s Smoke Shop could reopen, granted that its clerks follow best practices for social distancing.
Fatty’s was issued with a citation by the Beverly Hills police after the officers dismissed owner Jesse Singh’s argument saying his store should qualify as an essential business in health care. He maintained that their shop’s customers take CBD oil for treating different medical conditions.
Singh stayed open despite the possibility of paying a $1,000 fine, but the police returned and forcibly closed his shop two days after the first incident.
The city responded to the letter sent by Fatty’s lawyer, indicating that the city reversed its position. Referencing the emergency order made by McLennan County Judge Scott Felton last March 23, Angel Nevarez, the City Secretary, said after reviewing the existing Order, the city has decided to let Fatty’s stay open. However, its workers are instructed to be in the store and only offer curbside service.
Asked for further comment, Nevarez did not entertain the email and phone messages sent to her.
The reversal is a clear picture of the challenges involving public safety and economic concerns, wherein officials are tasked with the difficult job of reconciling both interests. Authorities try to uphold social distancing and limit physical contact to slow the progress of the outbreak, even at the cost of businesses desperately trying to stay afloat.
Politicking during the crisis?
The CBD oil decision follows the pattern of lobbying that has appeared during this crisis. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton revealed his opinion that firearms are essential in the state, amid firearms-rights advocates objecting that gun-selling shops were determined to be non-essential in several jurisdictions.
Paxton also ordered the closure of abortion clinics in Texas, stating that the medical equipment and healthcare workers need to focus on the COVID response.
Different jurisdictions issued varying decisions on whether shops marketing CBD oil could be considered as essential healthcare businesses. Among Texan counties and cities, only Austin and Travis County so far have specific orders that identify CBD stores as non-essential, thus determining that they remain closed. Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Judge, also declared the same position via Twitter.
The cannabidiol discussions in Beverly Hills arises from Governor Greg Abbot’s new Order issued earlier in March that attempts to delineate what businesses can stay open and which ones should be closed. The Order identified seventeen categories belonging to essential services, which is in line with the US Department of Homeland Security’s definition. It also identified religious services such as houses of worship.
What is CBD?
Despite the big question regarding CBD’s position as an essential healthcare item, waves of support from users around the country laud cannabidiol oil and its alleged therapeutic benefits. It is regarded as a miracle remedy that is said to cure even the most severe health conditions, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
However, much of the talk comes from user reviews and gossip. Currently, there are limited studies regarding the substance, and very few pieces of evidence have turned up to back the claims.
The Food and Drug Administration is yet to publish clear guidelines regarding cannabidiol, which is being pushed by CBD advocates since the legalization of the substance under the 2018 Farm Bill. In light of the health crisis today, any clarification regarding the cannabis derivative would have to be pushed back until the coronavirus fiasco is resolved.
Cannabidiol or CBD is a substance derived from Cannabis sativa L., the source plant responsible for producing marijuana, which is an illegal drug under federal laws. It contains high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound responsible for the high that users experience when taking marijuana.
Although CBD hails from the same plant, it is considered as the non-intoxicating cannabis substance and is receiving praise for allegedly resolving many health issues, including pain and anxiety.