A ruling by a Northwest District judge shows the need for the state to address whether cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, should be considered a controlled substance.
Earlier this week, Judge Robin Schmidt refused to dismiss charges against the owner of two McKenzie County tobacco stores.
Falesteni Abuhamda was arrested in May and charged with delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, a Class A felony; possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, a Class B felony; possession of hashish, a Class C felony; manufacturing of drug paraphernalia, a Class C felony; and two drug-related misdemeanors. The Northwest Narcotics Task Force claimed Abuhamda advertised and sold products containing CBD.
At the federal level, the DEA has claimed CBD is a controlled substance, but it is not at all clear that it should fall under that designation. By and large, products containing CBD have little to no THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Many states have written laws specifically covering CBD, giving those with some chronic medical conditions access to the substance.
No such law exists in North Dakota, though.
Advocates of CBD claim it offers relief from a variety of ailments. There have been only limited studies of its effects, though, in part because of the unclear legal situation.
Abuhamda and his attorney, Deanna Longtin, made several arguments before Schmidt on Oct. 11. They claimed that CBD is not listed as a controlled substance by North Dakota, and so therefore isn’t illegal. Prosecutors contended that the state does regulate substances derived from the marijuana plant, as well as from the flowers and various parts of industrial hemp.
Abuhamda and his attorney have said the items