FORT ATKINSON (WKOW) — Wisconsin cannabis laws continue to confuse businesses and law enforcement alike. Most recently, Fort Atkinson Police posted two conflicting messages on the department Facebook page.
On Monday, they posted a warning for businesses that sell products containing CBD oil, stating it is illegal and the sale of those products could result in a fine.
Tuesday afternoon, police seemed to backtrack, stating CBD oil from hemp is legal in Wisconsin and officers won’t write any citations.
Those who sell CBD oil, like Brian Seamonson, say they’re used to dealing with this confusion. Seamonson said he’s fortunate police and community members in Deerfield have been welcoming of his business, The Hemp House.
Since it opened six months ago, Seamonson said his business hasn’t had any trouble with law enforcement, though his credit union told him it would cancel because it wasn’t confident his business was legal at the state and federal level.
Still he said he considers himself lucky his business has maintained a good relationship with police.
“Last week, a customer came in from Fort Atkinson and said the Fort Atkinson Police Department was making any stores selling CBD, that they need to take them off their shelves in their town,” Seamonson said. “But they can drive 25 minutes to Deerfield and nobody has a problem with it.”
The Fort Atkinson Police declined an interview about the post. Within it, they cite “Lydia’s Law” as their justification for the possible fines. The law allows the use of CBD oil only for medical purposes with a prescription.
According to Larry Konopacki, the general counsel for the Wisconsin Hemp Alliance, that law is still on the books but newer laws mean it no longer prohibits the use of CBD oil.
“The fact that Lydia’s Law still exists leads to a lot of confusion,” he said.
Konopacki helped write Wisconsin’s new laws surrounding CBD oil, which legalize it in the state provided it comes from hemp, not marijuana and it contains less than 0.3 percent THC.
“The pilot program was adopted a couple of years ago and really made this legal at the state and federal level,” he said.
Even so, Konopacki said Fort Atkinson is far from the only department that’s struggled to understand what’s legal when it comes to CBD.
He said the state Legislature and the Attorney General’s Office is working to clarify these laws but until then, those like Seamonson said their businesses will continue to face misunderstandings.
“That’s the problem,” he said. “It’s really confusing.”
While the Fort Atkinson Police Department has appeared to change its stance through its updated post, Konopacki said there’s still some confusion about their claim the Jefferson County District Attorney is interpreting CBD oil from hemp as illegal.
The Jefferson County D.A.’s office declined to comment to 27 News.