‘It’s been a nightmare’: Drug charges against CBD store owner dropped

The owner of an American CBD store who faced prosecution for selling hemp flower is celebrating after the charges were dropped.

Annie Martin, her fiancé, Sean Lefler, and an employee of their Free State Collective store in Lawrence, Kansas, were slapped with felony drug charges.

Now local prosecutors say proceedings have been ‘dropped without prejudice’ — which means they can be reinstated, reports The Kansas City Star.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson’s office released a statement saying the charges were dropped but offered no explanation for the turnaround.

Martin said: “It’s been a complete and total nightmare. I never in my wildest imagination would have thought this could turn into what it did.”

Cannabis leaf like plants grown by Sativa Investments
The difference between CBD and cannabis is causing confusion

She believes the Kansas Bureau of Investigation failed to differentiate between hemp, which is legal under federal law, and cannabis with THC, which remains illegal in most US states.

Martin faced 17 years in prison from the charges and said her family forked out $100,000 in legal fees.

When she entered the CBD market, the former teacher realised regulation was murky and contacted state agencies for guidance – and few replied.

A representative told The Kansas City Star the charging documents “reflect our position that marijuana was being sold at a CBD product store”.

Sarah Swain, the defense attorney for Martin and Lefler, said the charges were especially hypocritical in Lawrence, where the city council has reduced penalties for possessing small amounts of cannabis to a $1 fine.

The couple plan to close the store and open a new site in Kansas City.