MENOMONEE FALLS — The owner of a Menomonee Falls CBD shop says authorities raided his store and arrested him this week for selling products that he believes are legal.
The owner of Superstar Buds says he was told by Waukesha County detectives that they had been buying products from him undercover since January and test results found them to have an illegal amount of THC.
The Waukesha County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Friday that they began investigating after becoming aware of a non-fatal overdose incident involving two small children who unintentionally ingested a CBD-related product. The Sheriff's Office says the suspected product was purchased by the children’s parent from Superstar Buds.
The Sheriff's Office says investigators obtained evidence that Superstar Buds was selling products containing prohibited levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The Office says these products were labeled by the business as CBD or delta-8-THC.
Superstar Buds in Menomonee Falls does look like it was hit by a tornado, but the owner says this is the aftermath of a law enforcement raid.
“Right now it's a disaster. We've got probably over $100,000 in damage between stuff they destroyed, seized. I mean, it's just a disaster,” says Chris S., Superstar Buds’ owner.
Chris says dozens of officers poured into his store and confiscated his top-selling product, Delta 8 THC. He says his other items like CBD and hemp flower were destroyed in the process.
“This is soaking wet. They don't want us to sell this stuff,” he says.
Chris says he and one of his employees were arrested on the day of the bust and released 24 hours later awaiting several felony drug charges.
“We move a lot of Delta 8 so I feel we were targeted because we're pushing a lot out onto the market."
Here's where things get confusing. Delta 8 THC is derived from hemp, whereas Delta 9 THC comes from marijuana. State and federal law both ban Delta 9 THC above .3 percent potency but the laws don't mention Delta 8 whatsoever.
“Delta 8 only binds to your CB1 receptors, so it doesn’t give you that cloudy feeling, but it still produces a happy, euphoric, it just makes you feel happy,” Chris said.
Chris is far from the only Delta 8 retailer in Wisconsin. Several CBD stores in Milwaukee have been selling the product that comes in the form of flower, vape cartridges and oils for about a year now. Hazy Dayz owner Zach Rowe also believes it’s legal.
“According to the 2018 Farm Bill, any hemp derivatives and isomers of the cannabis plant except for delta 9 are technically legal,” Rowe said.
Back in Menomonee Falls, the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office says they are the lead agency on the case and executed a search warrant with the assistance of Menomonee Falls police.
The Sheriff's Office said in its statement Friday that while executing that search warrant, investigators seized other products from the business that were labeled as CBD or delta-8-THC that are believed to contain prohibited amounts of delta-9-THC.
The Office adds that three people were arrested at the business in connection to this search warrant. Charges will be presented to the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office at a future date, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Chris gave TMJ4 News a copy of the search warrant he was given upon arrest. It says law enforcement officials have the right to confiscate any items that contain Tetrahydrocannabinol known as THC.
The warrant says the alleged crimes include possession with the intent to deliver, manufacturing THC and maintaining a drug trafficking place.
“The law is crystal clear about it being outlawed in the state of Wisconsin currently,” said state representative Adam Neylon of Pewaukee.
Wisconsin’s 2018 hemp pilot program passed the legislature with nearly unanimous support including a ‘yes’ vote from Neylon. He believes CBD store owners are misunderstanding the difference between federal and state law.
"I think some of the owners at these CBD stores are relying on federal law to make their case when in fact it’s very clear in the state of Wisconsin that none of these products, CBD or THC products are allowed to be sold that have psychoactive ingredients in them,” he said.
Neylon says he doesn’t believe the confusion should result in arrests. He believes an educational approach would suffice.
“This is a difficult situation and I want to say and I want to make clear that these are not drug dealers we’re talking about,” Neylon said. “These are legitimate business owners and I think the issue is just a misunderstanding of the law. So, I think we should do a better job of informing them and educating them on what’s legal and what’s not legal.”