KIMBALL, Tenn. — At least one prospective cannabidiol business is examining opening in Kimball, and city leaders are considering whether or not they will allow it to happen.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is an oil that's extracted from either a marijuana plant or a hemp plant.
At the January meeting of the Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Mayor Rex Pesnell said CBD is legal in all 50 states, and that someone contacted him recently about the possibility of opening a shop to sell the product in Kimball.
City Attorney Billy Gouger said the oil has medicinal uses, according to some people.
"It is exempted from the definition of marijuana that is illegal in Tennessee," he said."The oil itself is not illegal."
There are some state regulations that limit the amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that can be in the oil, otherwise it is legal according to state law.
In January 2012, Kimball enacted an ordinance outlawing the sale of synthetic drugs, like synthetic marijuana.
"This is not a synthetic product," Gouger said. "This is a naturally occurring product or oil that is extracted or derived from the plants. So, that ordinance doesn't really apply to this specific situation."
If city leaders want to make the sale of CBD illegal in Kimball, he said the board would have to adopt an ordinance "more strict or stringent than state law is."
Alderman John Matthews asked which state agency oversees this type of business.
"It's really not regulated," Gouger said. "It would be a law enforcement issue if there's an allegation that somebody is selling a substance that exceeds the THC limit that's set out in the [state] statute, but it's not really a regulated thing other than that."
Kimball police officer Tray Adams told the board that hemp growers must register with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and any product or manufacturing from that would have to meet the department's guidelines.
"It would have to be at or less than a 0.3 percent THC content of any product they produce," he said.
Adams said at those low levels, Kimball police wouldn't be able to field test on site, and they would have to send samples to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's crime lab for an analysis if legality issues were raised.
CBD doesn't have any "impairment qualities" like marijuana does, Adams said, and he doesn't think there is an age limit to purchase the products.
"I've read a lot on it, and there's a lot of positive comments from people with arthritis and all different kind of ailments," Pesnell said. "It says that it's helping them."
Matthews said the legalization of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana will be on the ballot in Tennessee eventually.
"It's just a matter of time," he said.
"Sounds like to me [CBD] is going to take the place of Ibuprofen and Tylenol and stuff like that in treating [pain]," Vice Mayor Jerry Don Case said. "You don't get high on it, and it's more for headaches and inflammation. It's just the going thing right now."
The board tabled the issue until its next meeting, and Pesnell encouraged its members to research the matter over the next few weeks.
"If we feel like we need to pass an ordinance to ban it, [we can], otherwise they're legal to come in here and start [selling CBD]," Pesnell said.
The next board meeting is Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. CDT at the Kimball city hall.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.