It’s yet another episode of the “Can Our Law Enforcement Officials Be Even More Ignorant About Cannabis?” show. This one takes place in Tennessee and it plays out like Keystone Cops.
In a months-long joint investigation involving officials from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, “Operation Candy Crush” — yes, this is absolutely true — shut down nearly two dozen stores for allegedly selling illegal marijuana products that look like candy. But the candy in question contained CBD from industrial hemp, and law enforcement officials admitted the products did not contain any THC, the psychoactive substance found in cannabis.
Just look at the roster of agencies involved in Operation Candy Crush (and then ask yourself how much this cost the taxpayers):
- U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
- Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office
- Murfreesboro Police Department
- Smyrna Police Department
- La Vergne Police Departments
This collection of not-too-educated law enforcement officials found an equally challenged judge — Circuit Court Judge Royce Taylor — and received permission to confiscate all CBD products from the store. And then ordered them padlocked until further notice.
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The raid of the non-psychoactive products forced the shut down of 23 stores across the county and 21 peopled were indicted for selling illegal products.
“We’d like to inform the parents to be aware of what your children are bringing home with them,” Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh said in a news conference outside one of the shuttered businesses. “It’s an illegal drug. It’s a CBD product. It’s a derivative of marijuana, and it is an illegal drug except in medical situations.”
Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold did his best Barney Fife impression when addressing the throng of media. “This [CBD gummy bears] isn’t’ healthy at all,” Arnold said, ignoring the fact that CBD, in fact, is healthy and is used to treat a wide variety of ailments.
But Arnold didn’t stop there. When asked during the press conference what the purpose of the product is, Arnold blurted out without skipping a beat, “It’s used to get high.” When the reporter corrected the police chief and calmly explained that it is not purchased to get high, Arnold doubled down on his ignorance. “Then why are they buying it?” he asked.
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Um. People are buying it not because it gets them high. They’re buying it because it has medicinal value. You would think that a quick Google search would have aided this seven-agency task force. Nope. According to Arnold, “We have been on this radar for several months.”
So, nobody from the two federal agencies, one state agency, one county agency and three local agencies bothered to check what CBD is?
But, believe it or not, it keeps getting worse. Arnold was informed during the press conference that CBD products are sold at Wal-Marts. When asked if he will go after the retail giant, Arnold said, “If they [consumers] can get it at Wal-Mart, that’s where we’ll go.” Arnold was asked if the police department would be padlocking the doors of Wal-Mart. “If the judge approves it,” he said.
The raid cost 23 small, local store owners their ability to keep their businesses open. Meanwhile, the largest retailer in the country stays open and sells products with the same ingredients.
Arnold, Smyrna’s top cop, stated the obvious at one point: “This is not some obscure product. … They [store owners] know it’s there and what the purpose for it is.”
Yes, Chief, the store owners know what the purpose for it is. Sadly, you have no clue.