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I talked with two local small business owners this weekend who recently started marketing CBD products in their shops. One is a local health food drink maker and the other primarily markets beauty products. Both were completely unaware of the risks they take in selling CBD products. They are considered MRB (marijuana related business) under the law. They didn’t know that they are subject to some of the same harsh law enforcement actions as a street corner drug dealer.
The implications of being raided by law enforcement are scary (think about Eric Garner, the unlicensed cigarette seller killed by police in a takedown raid) and the many whose lives were ruined by overly aggressive marijuana prosecutions with slim and questionable evidence. Not even to mention the cases where false evidence was introduced to cover up an officer’s action who initiated an improper action and arrest. Today’s MRB entrepreneurs like to think “this couldn’t happen to me”. I presume that’s what Eric Garner thought before his fatal encounter with law enforcement.
Then yesterday there was a case reported where police in Maryland arrested and jailed a middle aged business guy for more than a month. He had no criminal background and police later admitted what they thought was an illegal substance was simply a bad lab test result.
So call me paranoid, but I’m concerned that the risk of selling an unapproved product could be worse than the seller imagines.
One otherwise flawless small business had thousands of dollars in merchandise confiscated and their shop left in shambles after a raid during business hours (not to mention the embarrassment and damage to community reputation). Law enforcement is not responsible for financial damages caused by their actions without lengthy, difficult and expensive legal actions. Another young small business owner faces prosecution action by the local health department for introducing a CDB flavored product into his lineup. Either one could possibly lose their insurance, their banking, their business lease, etc.
I say again and again:
- Know the law
- Know your business position
- Be prepared with a risk management plan
- Do not expect everyone in government to agree with your position no matter how well legally grounded.
In summary, selling CBD products is not a decision to be taken lightly. DOn;t assume that becasue hemp products are decriminalized where you live that you are ‘in the clear’. I am pleased to discuss the issue with anyone who has concerns.