Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has sued two Kansas City retailers, charging they illegally sold a hemp-derived oil that should be available only in licensed care centers.
The lawsuit followed an attempt by Koster’s office to get about 30 unlicensed stores across the state to stop selling cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil. Letters from the attorney general advising shops to stop the sales were heeded by all but four shops, including the two in Kansas City, according to an announcement from Koster’s office.
In 2015, Missouri licensed two companies to grow hemp, extract CBD oil and distribute it. Legislators acted on evidence that the oil has been helpful in controlling intractable epilepsy. The oil is available legally only to individuals who receive a signed statement from a neurologist confirming their diagnosis and receive a hemp extract registration card from the state.
In separate lawsuits, Koster said Above the Cloud LCC, doing business as Vapur West, and Main Street Traders LLC, doing business as Main Smoke & Gift Shop, both in Kansas City, sold CBD oil though they were not licensed to do so.
Two other lawsuits by the state similarly charge River City Nutrition in Kirkwood and Planet Health Market in Ellisville with selling the oil illegally.
Shahid Hassan, owner of Main Smoke & Gift Shop, said he responded to the letter from Koster’s office and stopped selling CBD oil more than two months ago. The lawsuit, however, said the shop confirmed to a state investigator on Aug. 3 that it still sold the oil, which Hassan specifically denied.
The owner of the Ellisville shop declined to comment on the lawsuit. The others could not be reached Wednesday.
Missouri’s lawsuits seek a court injunction against sales at the companies, restitution to their customers and payment of an unspecified civil penalty.
Use of CBD oil has been controversial because it comes from hemp, or cannabis, that also contains tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the substance in cannabis that produces a high. Products legal under Missouri’s regulation are allowed to contain only a small amount of THC.
Researchers have reported to Congress about CBD oil’s effect and the effects of THC for dealing with epilepsy, pain and other conditions.