By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – The city of Alabaster will not grant business licenses to stores specializing in selling CBD oil products over the next year, as the City Council unanimously approved a yearlong moratorium on those businesses during a Feb. 18 meeting.
The moratorium went into effect immediately, and will run through Feb. 18, 2020. It applies to businesses receiving 10 percent or more of their gross revenue from CBD oil products, prohibits all businesses from displaying signage advertising CBD oil products and encourages all businesses in the city to not sell CBD oil products.
The 2018 federal Farm Bill allows, among other things, the legal retail sale of CBD oil products with a 0.3 percent and lower THC content, said Alabaster City Attorney Jeff Brumlow.
Ward 5 Alabaster Councilman Russell Bedsole, a captain with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, said CBD oil is presenting problems for the law enforcement community, as some of the products sold in stores contain more than the 0.3 percent THC content allowed by law, unbeknownst to the store owners.
“The big problem for law enforcement is that there is no easy way you can test to see if it’s under that 0.3 percent threshold,” Bedsole said. “The CBD oil salespeople are telling store owners ‘You can sell this, because it’s below 0.3 percent and it’s legal.’ Our Drug Task Force recently busted a store that was selling CBD products over that 0.3 percent limit. The store owners don’t know it’s illegal, because it’s coming from a distributor.”
Currently, the city’s overlay district along Alabama 119 does not address CBD oil stores, and the yearlong moratorium will allow the city to modify the overlay ordinance to account for them, said Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon.
“It’s not excluded or addressed in the overlay district now. This gives you a chance to step back until we can get our arms around what the Farm Bill is doing,” Handlon said.
The moratorium does not apply to CBD oil used for doctor-prescribed medical purposes, such as treating seizures.
“People who use CBD oil for legitimate medical reasons, there’s still an avenue for them through their doctors,” Bedsole said. “This doesn’t change that.”