Village considers allowing sale of CBD products

Commission may amend ordinance to permit businesses to offer hemp-derivative items already being sold in some stores
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Village of Grafton Plan Commission is considering amending its zoning ordinance to allow businesses to sell CBD (cannabidoil) products.

“It’s mainstream and in the news, so let’s talk about it,” Village President Jim Brunnquell said during Tuesday’s meeting.

CBD is a non-psychoactive derivative of the hemp plant that is added to products such as oil, lotions, food and pet treats. CBD can also be sold in its flower form.

Last year, President Donald Trump signed the federal farm bill that removed hemp and its extracts, including CBD, from the Controlled Substance Act. 

During the meeting, Village Attorney Mike Herbrand answered questions from the commission to help direct staff to amend its zoning ordinance.

Development Director Jessica Wolff said the village has received several inquiries from individuals seeking to open CBD stores. She said the zoning ordinance is currently “silent” on CBD businesses, meaning they are not allowed in any zoning district in the village.

Wolff said some local businesses are selling CBD products. 

“It seems unusual that we’re trying to talk about allowing people to come into the village to sell, yet we know there’s other businesses here that are already doing it,” Trustee Lisa Uribe Harbeck said from the audience.

Brunnquell said the committee is more concerned with permitting than enforcing the ordinance at the moment. 

Cedarburg is drafting an ordinance that would prohibit the sale of CBD, although CBD products are being sold in Saukville and Port Washington. Wolff said Milwaukee suburbs are not regulating CBD businesses, treating them as retail stores. 

Herbrand said state law “appears to require a prescription to sell CBD products.” Last year, former Attorney General Brad Schimel stated that his office was not recommending enforcement of the law.

“It’s gray. There are some possibly conflicting laws in the state of Wisconsin,” Herbrand said, noting the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection does not allow the sale of CBD in pet food products.

“I suspect a fix is going to come from the Wisconsin Legislature, but no one has challenged it yet,” Herbrand said. 

Herbrand also said allowing the sale of CBD could pose problems for law enforcement, because CBD in its flower form looks and smells like marijuana. 

Hemp plants with 0.3% or less of THC (tetrahydrocannabiol) are defined in Wisconsin as industrial hemp, while plants with more than 0.3% THC are marijuana.

Police and Fire Commission member Paul Lazari said the field tests the police use are “worthless” and drug-sniffing dogs are unable to tell the difference between CBD and marijuana.

No action was taken by the commission but the general consensus among its members was to wait until the state clearly defines the legality of CBD. 

“The last thing the village wants to do is to get involved in that gray area,” Brunnquell said.

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