Orange Beach enacts moratorium on CBD licenses

By John Mullen

July 18, 2019 – Orange Beach, AL – (OBA®) – There are still some issues with CBD oil that Councilman Jerry Johnson sees as murky and before issuing more licenses for stores or wholesalers in the city he’d like to say those cleared up.

On July 16, the Orange Beach City Council in a 6-0 unanimous vote placed a 90-day moratorium on any new business licenses for CBD stores or wholesalers in the city.

Jerry Johnson, Orange Beach, Alabama, councilman.“You get different opinions from different people,” Johnson said. “Clarity is not there yet and we will get there. We’re there to support what you’re going but we’re trying to make it where you can stay in business.”

Two license applications seeking to operate CBD businesses in the city were postponed rather than denied and will be taken up again when a new ordinance on CBD stores is enacted. Stores carrying the products now will be able to continue sales but will have to adhere to the new rules once the ordinance is in place.

Chad Kirkland and Chase Smith were hoping to open Lotus Orange Beach on Perdido Beach Boulevard at the west end of town. They already operate Lotus Foley.

Christian Butts operates a retail store, Seedless Green, in Elberta where he also manufactures CBD products and wholesales them to other stores.

Johnson said the council welcomes stores who will be doing business the right way.

“We want to protect the good ones,” Johnson said. “We want to make sure that they are doing good. And we’re going to go after the markets that want to profit off of it with the wrong amount of THC. We’re there to support what you’re going to do but we’re trying to make it where you can stay in business.

“Hopefully it won’t take 90 days but we have got to have some time to be able to look at it and determine how the police will be able to check the content if they find it or some kind of a process that will help all of us. And that we won’t be arresting good people with the correct amount of CBD and only going for the ones that are questionable.”

Mayor Tony Kennon said he had concerns with drug tests that may come back as positive for people using CBD because of the trace of THC.

“What if one of our employees comes back testing positive and is using CBD oil?” Kennon asked. “We don’t want them to be negatively affected by a positive test but at the same time, if it’s helping them, we would not want them not to be able to take oil if it’s a positive for them. So how do we deal with that?”

Johnson said he learned a lot about CBD at the July 9 discussion and in the interim to the July 16 vote and believes the products can help people.

“As far as the effects and impacts and the people that it has helped, I’m a believer,” Johnson said. “We just want to clear up things to where it will be a good thing for business and a good thing for the city.”

The best way to do that, Kennon said, is the impose the moratorium and take the time to get to the specifics of testing, quality, keeping the city’s family-values image and helping the police department find a way to determine if the oil tested in a traffic stop is legal or illegal.

“What do you do?” Kennon asked. “It’s either positive or it's negative. That creates a dilemma for our police department. I want to make sure what we’re allowing to be sold is legitimate and drug verification onsite in some fashion. I don’t know what that is but we need to help make that happen.

“But it also helps our vendors that are legitimate in that we now have the ability to eliminate those vendors who are selling junk. And there are probably some out there doing that right now.”

During the work session, the council discussed:

Appointments to the new Fire Code Board of Appeals. Proposed for the new panel were architect Sted McCollough for three years, fire protection engineer Jim Blandin for two years and industrial safety professional Chris Hicks, general contractor Shawn Goe and general industry and business representative Rusty Hart for one year each. The council also discussed an amendment to city ordinances to create the new board.

A resolution awarding the bid for a Used Full-Size SUV for the Coastal Resources Department.

Report from WKRG News on the legality of CDB products