Houston-area residents are using hemp-extract products to treat a bevy of ailments, but the Houston Police Department says not all cannabidiol (CBD) products they’ve come across are legal.
“I believe it is becoming a problem, depending on what we’re recovering in the substance,” said HPD Narcotics Division Lt. Marsha Todd.
HPD spokesman Keese Smith told KHOU 11 News they have seen increasing amounts of CBD products sold at smoke shops, but they are not concerned with the product in the same way they were with the recent synthetic cannabis, or “kush” epidemic.
“If it does not have THC, it is legal,” Smith said.
The CBD extracts are made from industrial-grade hemp — the same type of plant used to make hemp clothing and hemp seed oil. Sellers say the oils do not contain traceable levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical found in cannabis. They say that while it might help with anxiety, CBD does not get you “high.”
But police claim they’ve made multiple arrests related to CBD oils after they tested positive for THC.
When pressed for details on the arrests, HPD was vague, but said more details are forthcoming.
“I’m not going to talk about specific cases or places where we’ve found it,” Todd said. “I can tell you we’ve recovered it on multiple occasions.
“The problem is people don’t know what they’re getting – all they know is they’re getting oil,” Todd said.
Nonetheless, CBD proponents say the product’s growing popularity speaks to its effectiveness. The products cost anywhere from $40 to $100 per container.
“It’s blowing up in popularity,” said Kevin, who works at a smoke shop southwest of downtown. “People with everything from diabetes, cancer, epilepsy are seeing positive results.”
The most recent legal questions concerning CBD arose during the Jan. 28 arrest of William Goss, 19, who Fort Bend Precinct 3 Constables said was in possession of marijuana and solid, commercially available CBD concentrate.
“CBDs aren’t illegal,” said Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Captain Josh Dale. “There is no legislative statute right now that makes CBDs illegal to possess in the state of Texas. There is also no federal statute against CBDs right now.”
KHOU 11 News spoke with employees of six different smoke shops where CBD oil was sold. Each of the stores said that they do not sell products containing THC, and that the brands they sell are perfectly legal.