In a February 22 raid on Elements Distribution — a vaping and smoke shop distribution center in Norcross, Georgia — law enforcement officers seized about $2 million worth of product but did not make any arrests or file charges, CBS46 reports. Additionally, Elements said they have always run their business legitimately and continue to do so, and that they have been paying taxes to the county on the very same products that were seized.
Video of the raid posted on Twitter shows more than a dozen officers dressed in riot gear with weapons drawn entering the company’s warehouse.
“Our facilities were illegally raided and we still await the response from the Gwinnett County DA’s office to provide us with a probable cause for the raid,” said Ali Imran, owner of Elements Distribution, in an email to Ganjapreneur.
The officers were reportedly on the hunt for delta-8 THC products, which many experts consider to be legal in the state but apparently not the Gwinnett County District Attorney, whose enforcement actions have spurred a lawsuit filed on behalf of multiple Georgia businesses selling delta-8 THC products.
The Georgia Hemp Farming Act, which was passed in 2019, allows products derived from hemp that contain no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC to be sold legally but does not mention delta-8. Gwinnett County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Brandon Delfunt argues that delta-8 products are outlawed under the hemp law. The lawsuit is filed against the county.
“The issue is that delta-8 and delta-10 are not always derivatives of hemp products and even if they are derivatives of hemp products, the legislature was very specific that hemp is defined as something that contains delta-9 THC 0.3 or less.” – Delfunt to CBS46
Tom Church, a trial attorney with Pate, Johnson & Church who is representing the retailers, said he doesn’t believe the issue is a “gray” area in the law.
“The hemp bill basically legalized all cannabinoids, all extracts,” he said in the report, “unless we’re talking about delta-9 THC.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Elements Distribution was directly involved with the lawsuit against Gwinnett County but we were informed this was a false interpretation. We regret the error.
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