MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A plant that looks and smells like marijuana has found its way onto store shelves in Minnesota. The CBD flower is derived from hemp. It's the latest product claiming to help with everything from anxiety to seizures.
Inside Hideaway in Dinkytown, you'll find jars full of CBD flowers. There are different flavors to choose from like Sour Tsunami and Cannatonic. One jar is advertised as Minnesota made. And they sell pre-rolled joints.
"I went in to get CBD oil and they actually had what looked like marijuana, big vats of marijuana for sale and I was shocked," said Wade Thomas, of Arden Hills.
So what's the difference?
Thomas couldn't tell by sight. Put hemp CBD flowers and marijuana buds side by side and it's hard to see what sets them apart.
Wally Sakallah owns the store that sells the flowers.
"It's like a hemp flower. I mean it's actual like marijuana-looking, smells like it, taste like it, the only thing is its effect. It doesn't have the effect. It doesn't have the psychoactive to it," Sakallah said.
Even so, critics of hemp CBD argue the products, including flowers, are not regulated and not legal.
In a statement, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy wrote: "Nothing in state or federal law allows any products derived from hemp to be sold for human or animal consumption."
Law enforcement, however, say there's nothing on the books about it.
"We're running a business. This is not like street market or black market. This is an actual business, we follow the law," Sakallah said, adding that there's a growing demand for the flowers over CBD oils or other products.
"People are like, OK, I would like to have the actual flower instead of actual processing stuff to make sure this is the actual stuff," Sakallah said.
And he knows the more it's out there, the more issues could arise.
"I feel bad for law enforcement...how are they going to tell? Sakallah said.
Thomas said he uses CBD oils for muscle soreness and joint issues but said he's not going to take his chances with the flowers.
"It smells like weed so I wouldn't feel comfortable riding around with it in my car, so if you got pulled over there could be some issues there. Cause how can you tell a cop it's CBD and it looks exactly like weed and smells like weed but it doesn't have THC in it," Thomas said.
Sakallah reports police did stop one of his employees with the CBD flowers. It took some time, but the officer eventually let the worker go.
The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy warns that hemp-derived products can contain small amounts of THC and users may test positive for it when they undergo drug testing.
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