Your CBD Store is already open and operating in Orange Beach, Alabama.

By John Mullen

July 11, 2019 – Orange Beach, AL – (OBA®) – Police Chief Joe Fierro said legal confusion around CBD products led him to flag a business license for what would be the second store in the city.

He said in October the state attorney general said any CBD products not approved by the FDA were illegal. Then about two months later the Alabama Department of Agriculture OK’d growing industrial hemp in the state and Congress took the hemp out of its definition of marijuana.

Orange Beach, Alabama, Police Chief Joe Fierro.During the business license process, licenses are reviewed by various city department heads and any of those people who have concerns about a particular license can ask the council for a review of that license.

“It’s very easy to get confused,” Fierro said. “Basically, the state of Alabama needs to make a determination as to what they want to do so we know what we have to do or not to do. Until that happens perhaps a little bit more time may be better to take a closer look at it.”

Hemp contains about 0.3 percent of THC, the substance that gives marijuana users a high. Marijuana can contain as much as 20 percent to 30 percent of the substance.

At a July 9 work session, the council aired those and other concerns as they discussed a business license for Lotus of Orange Beach. Also, during a 90-minute-long discussion, council members voiced support for a moratorium on business licenses to stores wanting to sell CBD products. On the day of the meeting Seedless Green also applied for a business license from Orange Beach. Seedless Green has a store in Elberta but also manufactures CBD products and wholesales them to stores in Orange Beach.

On July 16, the council will take up licenses for both businesses and at the same meeting decide whether to impose a 60-day moratorium on all CBD store licenses.

“All we’re doing is saying let’s take some time to create an ordinance that will prevent what we know what is going to happen with the frauds and the fakes,” Mayor Tony Kennon said. “Do we require onsite recordkeeping so when we walk in and look at the product you’ve got the lab tests are right there for us? And what we do with our police department?”

Chase Smith, one of the owners of Lotus and owner of another shop in Foley that sells CBD, said his research says the oil and other products have been declared legal by four state agencies.

Smith quoted one of the releases to read that “as a result of a Congressional action CBD derived from industrial hemp with a THC concentration of no more than 0.3 percent can be legally produced sold and possessed in the state of Alabama.”

“There’s no ambiguity there,” Smith said. “It’s legal per all four of those departments that have issued those press releases.”

After concerns about quality control and products getting in that might contain higher percentages of THC, Smith said all of his products are tested by an independent lab.

“Everything in our store comes with a certificate of analysis,” Smith said. “Not even the company themselves but an outside lab to run the tests to show all the oils that are in it.”

Mayor Tony Kennon of Orange Beach, Alabama. Kennon said his concerns weren’t with the legitimate dealers with tested products but with products that aren’t as controlled getting into town.

“I have been in the supplement industry and I know for a fact if there is a fad and there’s money to be made then the fakes, the frauds as CBD oil companies and they will be marketing CBD oil that is not less than 0.3 percent that’s not regulated,” Kennon said.

For law enforcement, if a vial of oil is found in a car and tested for THC, the result will be a positive test no matter what the percentage reads.

“Our police have to deal with the fact that if it tests at even 0.1 it’s an illegal situation for them because they don’t know if it’s 0.1 or 21,” Kennon said.

Just having that little bit of oil, Fierro said, can lead to a felony arrest. And, it would take months for a backlogged state forensic lab to find out if the percentage was indeed criminal.

Kennon said this is why the city would like to implement the moratorium to get an ordinance in place to ensure the products are safe and legal.

The other shop specifically selling CBD products in Orange Beach is Your CBD Shop on Canal Road in the Big Fish Bar and Restaurant shopping center. Smith said four other stores at The Wharf have CBD products for sale as do the two Tom Thumb stores in the city.

During the regular session, the council also:

  • Heard a second reading of an ordinance amendment to allow for the development of Caribe East and Caribe West, two more buildings on the Caribe property to add 480 units and gave approval for the project.
  • Held a public hearing and had the first reading of an ordinance change for Summer Salt’s final PUD. It is located behind Doc’s Seafood and Steaks and adjacent to Live Bait. This is phase one which is planning to have 54 single-family
  • residential lots and 58 cottage lots.
  • Approved a liquor license Application for B&D Maritime for Weather or Knot a new charter fishing boat, at slip E14 at San Roc Marina.
  • Approved a resolution declaring certain personal property as surplus and unneeded and authorizing the Mayor and City Clerk to dispose of such property.
  • Approved resolutions authorizing a franchise renewal for two taxis companies, A-1 Taxi Service and Blue Dolphin Taxi.
  • Approved a resolution hiring Braxton C. Counts, III, P.C. for lobbying services to consult on federal, regional and state issues at a cost of $2,000 a month plus expenses.
  • A resolution establishing the fee for emergency medical treatment and transport services.
  • A resolution authorizing the purchase of CCTV system equipment for the Orange Beach High School and Middle School portables in the amount of $10,850.
  • A resolution authorizing the execution of a task order with GeoCon, Inc., to provide a soil study for the wetland area south of the new high school in the amount of $4,500.
  • A resolution appropriating funds to the Gulf Shores Airport Authority in an amount not to exceed $14,000.

During the work session, the council also discussed:

  • A Resolution appropriating funds to the Makos Academics, Arts & Athletics Club in the amount of $67,050.
  • A resolution appropriating funds to the Baldwin County Board of Education for teacher and coach salaries in an amount not to exceed $60,000.
  • A resolution authorizing execution of a memorandum of understanding with the Wharf Marina.
  • Resolutions authorizing the sole source purchase of a 30-horsepower submersible pump for $26,329 and a 15-horsepower submersible pump for $16,978 from Jim House & Associates for the Utilities Department.
  • A resolution for a lease agreement for a portable classroom for the Expect Excellence program for about $28,000 for a term of nine months. The city-led afterschool program is expecting reach about 350 students in the fall and the extra space is needed until the new gymnasium at the recreation center campus is completed.
  • An ordinance annexing the Birkenhauer property into the City of Orange Beach, Alabama. The property is on Powerline Road near the water treatment plant and the city would like to relocate the Public Works Department to the parcel. It is currently on the east end of the Canal Road property where the new Orange Beach High School and Middle School is being built.
  • A resolution establishing an amnesty program for delinquent wastewater/sewer accounts.
  • A resolution amending the employees pay plan/job listing to reclassify certain job positions.
  • An ordinance amendment to provide for additional regulations pertaining to the establishment of sewer accounts, rates, and the collection of delinquent charges.
  • A reminder of a public hearing for July 16 on a side setback request in Cypress Village.