Local business owners react to CBD sales restrictions

Steve Ferrari and franchisee Lorraine Denoncourt with some of their products on the counter. On display on some of their tinctures, lotions, and edible CBD gummies. (Photo by Peter Currier)

WESTFIELD- A recent Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAP) policy statement outlined a new ban on some CBD based products that could affect some local businesses.

The June 12 statement by the DAP listed several Cannabidiol (CBD) products that would no longer be approved for sale. Those included food products containing CBD, products containing CBD that make medical or therapeutic claims, products that contain hemp as a dietary supplement, any animal feed containing hemp products, and unprocessed hemp plant material.

The Massachusetts Department of public health published a similar ruling on the same day.

The rulings by the two departments could affect several businesses in the area, including Your CBD Store in Southwick, Rehab Resolutions in Southwick, and Budsuds Soapery in Westfield.

Your CBD Store part of a nationwide company. In response, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable (USHR), a supporting group that advocates for the free sale of hemp products, made a statement.

“As we reported a few weeks ago, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources issued a statement that CBD could not be sold as a food additive or dietary supplement,” said the USHR statement, “The Department of Public Health echoed this as they issued guidance that said CBD could not be added to foods. In response, State Representative Mark Cusack introduced a new bill, HD 4339, a bill that would both expand the state’s hemp growing program, and clarify that hemp-derived CBD products could be sold at retail in Massachusetts. In fact, Rep. Cusack’s bill largely reflects the important concepts contained in the Roundtable’s Model State Bill, providing some of the strongest hemp and CBD protections in the country. With the passage of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, Congress lifted all restrictions on industrial hemp cultivation and product sales, and you can help Massachusetts do the same on the state level.”

Marcus Quinn, CEO of Sunmed, sent the statement to the franchisees of each Your CBD Store location. Sunmed is a brand of CBD products that is prominently sold at Your CBD Store locations.  Marcus is also the husband of Rachael Quinn, founder of Your CBD Stores.

“The worst thing is we wouldn’t be able to carry edibles,” said Lorraine Denoncourt, franchisee of Southwick’s Your CBD Store.

According to a release from Peter Lorenz, communications director for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the policies are being adopted because the DPH and DAP are trying to remain in line with federal policy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement earlier this year saying that CBD may not be added to foods because it is an active ingredient in at least one FDA approved medication, and medications may not be added to food per FDA guidelines. Epidiolex is an FDA approved oral solution comprised of CBD used to treat epileptic seizures. It was only approved in the spring of 2018.

The FDA did specify that hemp seed, hemp seed protein, and hemp seed oil are generally recognized as safe.

“Local boards of health enforce the retail food code, which incorporates the FDA code, and have authority to determine enforcement strategies for retail establishments in their jurisdictions,” said Lorenz in the statement.

The policy change could affect some, but not all sales of CBD products in local stores. Rehab Resolutions in Southwick and their partner, Kannaway, could be among those affected, as their CBD products are marketed as therapeutic.

“Kannaway products have been proven to relieve pain, reduce anxiety, improve mood and sleep, among many more conditions,” says the Kannaway page on the Rehab Resolutions website.

Kannaway, as well as Your CBD Store also sell dog treats containing CBD, which may fall under the category of ‘animal feed’ specified by the DAP. Another local pet food and supply store in Westfield, For K-9’s and Felines, also sells CBD products specifically for pets. The owners of each of these stores all maintain that the substance is safe for your pets despite the DAP and DPH policy.

In the case of BudSuds Soapery, owners Joe and Amanda Caracciolo said that their business will not be affected to the degree that others are by this new policy, because they do not sell anything ingestible. Their main products are CBD infused soaps and lotions. Amanda said they are supporting the passage of Massachusetts Bill HD 4339.

“This [policy] will actually make all manufacturers have to apply for a hemp license and then source from in-state growers and processors, creating a safe, regulated, tested product eliminating out of state, unregulated products,” said Amanda.

The Caraciolos are part of the Massachusetts Hemp Coalition, and they said they are working with other local hemp and CBD businesses to create consistent state regulations for CBD.

In a series of interviews in June, the owners and franchisees of all three local CBD sellers decried the “cheap’”alternative products found in gas stations, convenience stores, and vape shops. All three owners pointed to the rigorous testing process every batch of their CBD products goes through. In most cases, each product is tested three times and the testing information for each batch is available to be viewed. Despite the levels of quality control given by these private businesses, the state agencies chose to follow the lead of the FDA.


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