Prosecutors in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska said they have chosen to dismiss a criminal case involving a mother and son who opened a CBD store. The decision could have important legal implications for CBD in the state of Nebraska. Most immediately, the entire case highlights the confusion and tension surrounding CBD under Nebraska state law. And importantly, within that context, the decision to drop the case could pave the way to a more lenient approach to CBD in the state.
Dismissing the Case
Scotts Bluff County Attorney Dave Eubanks confirmed this week that his office will not follow through on charges against Heather and Dreyson Beguin.
The mother and son team were facing criminal charges for opening and operating a CBD store. For them, the drama began back in December.
On Dec. 14, Scotts Bluff police raided their store. Subsequently, Heather and Dreyson were both arrested. And when the dust settled, the two found themselves facing serious felony charges. Specifically, they were charged with felony counts of distributing a controlled substance.
Now, prior to their scheduled court cases, the county attorney has decided to dismiss the case. Eubanks told local news source KETV Omaha that his office has better things to do than prosecute people for a substance “that can’t get you high.”
Instead, he told the press that his office will redirect their efforts toward meth. Additionally, the county attorney said his office would also rather focus on prosecuting violent crimes than something like selling or consuming CBD.
With all charges reportedly dropped, Heather and Dreyson said they plan to re-open their CBD store.
Legal Confusion Surrounding CBD
The Beguin’s case highlights a lot of the legal confusion that still persists around CBD. In the first place, the cops raided the Beguin’s store following a memo released by Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson.
His memo asserted that CBD and CBD oil are illegal controlled substances because they come from the hemp plant. However, the Beguins and many others throughout the state disagree with Peterson’s take on things.
“We wouldn’t have done this if we . . . weren’t ethically in the right,” Heather Beguin told local media. “We knew we were in the right legally as well.”
Interestingly, recent federal legislation in the time following the Beguins arrest seems to provide a pathway to clarity on the issue of CBD. In December, Donald Trump signed into law the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018.
Also known as the “Farm Bill,” this law introduced a number of changes to several different government agencies. Most notably for the Beguin’s case is the fact that the Farm Bill also removed hemp from the list of federal controlled substances.
In essence, the Farm Bill makes a distinction between cannabis and hemp. And it allows for the production of hemp, including CBD and CBD products.
Along with the changes this bill brings to federal law, Nebraska news sources also report that state lawmakers are looking at ways to clarify Nebraska’s position on CBD.
In particular, Omaha senator Justin Wayne told sources that lawmakers are working on changes to state laws that would clearly make hemp and hemp-derived CBD legal.
Interestingly, there is reportedly massive popular support for legalizing medical marijuana in Nebraska. A study from last year found that 77 percent of Nebraskans would vote yes to legalizing marijuana.