CBD oil

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Tuscaloosa city leaders are studying updates to the city code to regulate and permit the sale of items containing industrial hemp levels of THC.

If adopted, the regulations would prohibit hemp-based businesses from opening or operating within downtown Tuscaloosa and along the Black Warrior River.

However, it would allow them to operate legally within areas that are zoned neighborhood business, highway-related commercial or within any of the city's mixed use districts.

An existing business such as a coffee shop or health food store would be legally allowed to add products with hemp or CBD oil, The Tuscaloosa News reported.

But to open a new business focused primarily on the sale of hemp or CBD-based items, potential owners would first have to obtain a special exception from city officials.

"We want to keep something like a marijuana dispensary from opening up across the street from a daycare or a school or something like that," Associate City Attorney Scott Holmes said.

A bill signed into law last year by President Donald Trump cleared the way for marijuana-based businesses to legally operate in Tuscaloosa, the newspaper reported.

The passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, or the "Farm Bill," as it's commonly known, removed industrial hemp from the federal list of controlled substances.

Trump signed the bill into law in December, making it legal to sell any substance with .3 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in cannabis-based plants.

Other rules were being explored that would limit businesses from operating near churches, parks, schools or occupied dwellings, Holmes told a council committee recently. Also, the new amendments and regulations were written broadly enough to quickly accommodate any additional state or federal changes, such as the legalization of recreational marijuana, he said.

"These zoning and regulation changes would, hopefully, allow the cannabis products to exist where they naturally belong," Holmes said, "and keep them out areas of our community where we probably wouldn't want them and allow for the flexibility that may be incumbent for this type of product."

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