Drug Task Force Orders Trenton Businesses To Remove Products From Their Shelves
By REBECCA HAZEN
The Shop by Stevie and the Moon, and The Vapory, both Dade County shops that sell Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC, have been served papers by the Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force, and have been ordered to remove the products from their shelves.
These products are legal, and these shops have been able to sell these products since 2018 with no issue, up until now.
The notice issued by the Drug Task Force says:
“The following notice is for any products that contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) specifically THC vape cartridges and THC edibles. Per Official Code of Georgia Annotated any form of THC that is over 0.3 percent is defined as a schedule 1, and only Delta-9 THC .3 percent or less is legal.”
“Any individual(s), retailer(s), distributor(s), and/or wholesaler(s) found to be in possession and/or selling/distributing any THC products with any THC concentration of above .3 percent THC will be subject to arrest, prosecution, and possible asset seizure.”
The notice only mentions Delta-9 and does not mention Delta-8 and Delta-10.
The Sentinel reached out to the Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force Commander Casey York, both by phone and by email, but did not hear back before press time.
Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC is legal in Georgia, after the signing of House Bill 213, the Georgia Hemp Farming Act, and the federal Farm Bill signed and passed in 2018.
According to the Georgia Farm Bureau website, gfb.org, “Hemp includes all varieties of Cannabis that contain minimal amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which produces a ‘high.’”
“How do hemp and marijuana differ? Both come from the same cannabis species but are genetically distinct and different in use, chemical makeup and cultivation methods. Per federal regulations, industrial hemp must contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Marijuana contains high quantities of THC and low amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) oil. The opposite is true of hemp.”
The “Deltas” numbers refer to various structures of THC molecules that occur naturally in cannabis plants. The Deltas have different potencies and effects, and only Delta-9 THC is illegal when over 0.3 percent. Delta-9 is the main psychoactive component in marijuana.
The Sentinel reached out to Genevia Stallings, owner of The Vapory, and Steve Ellis and Dorinda Moon, owners of The Shop by Stevie and the Moon, but the business owners are seeking legal counsel before making direct statements to the press.
Attorney Walt Moffitt, with Harriss and Hartman Law Firm, P.C., is representing Genevia Stallings, owner of The Vapory. The Sentinel reached out to Moffitt but did not hear back.
Moon, separately from her business partnership, released a personal statement about her position on cannabis.
“The main reason for my interest in cannabis as medicine is because of someone near and dear to my heart. You see, I watched this person struggle with an opiate addiction from an early age. I watched how cannabis helped this person overcome the addiction. Cannabis is the only reason that this person can function normally on a day-to-day basis. Humans have an endocannabinoid system, and we actually benefit from the cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp. Some people depend on cannabis much like some people depend on coffee. Cannabis is so safe that in order to have a lethal reaction, you must smoke 1,500 pounds of cannabis in just 15 minutes, and we know that is not humanly possible. It is time to put aside the old age propaganda that cannabis is bad and start looking at all of the benefits,” Moon said.
The owners of Stevie and the Moon have created a Go Fund Me page, which can be found under “Protecting Georgia Hemp Laws and Businesses.” The purpose of the fundraiser is to raise money to obtain a lawyer.
The Go Fund Me page notes that Attorney Thomas Church, from firm Pate, Johnson, and Church LCC, has reached out to discuss their situation. Church’s retainer fee is $100,000.
The page says, “We as a united group of shop owners in the northwest corner of Georgia have been affected recently by local Sheriffs and the Lookout Mountain Judicial Drug Task Force creating their own laws.”
“We are tired of being harassed, and just want to continue our business in peace, but we can’t unless we fight back and stand up for our rights as citizens. If you are unable to donate, please share this and get the word out so we can get our products back to our customers in the state of Georgia.”
In addition to Dade County, businesses in Catoosa and Walker County were also forced to remove Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC products off their shelves. Shops have also been targeted in Gwinnett County. Attorney Church is representing the businesses in Gwinnett County. A judge recently granted a 30-day temporary restraining order against Gwinnett County District Attorney, Patsy Austin-Gatson, that prohibits “initiating or continuing any criminal enforcement action.”
“I reached out to [The Shop by Stevie and the Moon] because I think this is an important issue, and their livelihood is at stake,” Attorney Church said.
Church continued, “We have seen local law enforcement agencies going rouge. The law is very clear. The only limitation on substances that are extracted from hemp is Delta-9 THC. As long as these businesses aren’t selling Delta-9 THC products, then they are in the clear.”
“I guess there is enough wiggle room for prosecutors to get it wrong. But when a prosecutor gets the law wrong, there are serious consequences. We are doing our best to have our day in court. Sheriff’s Departments and District Attorney offices do not legislate. They don’t write the law. What we are seeing here is them almost creating a new law, based on a flimsy reading of the statute,” Church said.