BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A Hollidaysburg business owner shut down his Delta-8 store after police arrested him and took most of his products.
Mike DeAngelo, owner of Our CBD Hollidaysburg, said he had no choice but to close as he’s lost almost all his customers and inventory.
He stayed open for about two months after he was arrested for selling narcotics, even though police recommended he shut the store down after the arrest.
Not only did DeAngelo lose his store, but he’s also without a permanent home, and he only has a few more days to stay where he is now.
“For 34 days now, I’ve basically been homeless, with a chair with wheels, and a box of clothing,” DeAngelo said.
WTAJ asked District Attorney Pete Weeks about DeAngelo’s arrest. He didn’t say any stores by name, but he says his office and State Police have looked into two stores in the past year, both for the same reason.
“Complaints of customers or a specific customer indicating that they essentially overdosed or had medical complications from a product they were not aware would cause them to get high or to need medical attention,” Weeks said.
He said they sent samples of what was being sold to their crime lab, where they determined the products were illegal and didn’t fit under the legal Delta-8 definition — in which the product has to have 0.3% or less THC by weight.
“Hemp has been classified as legal, but Delta-8 in concentrations above 0.3% is illegal as a Schedule 1 Controlled substance,” Weeks said. “Our crime lab actually gives a margin of error in tests. They flag it at 0.6%.”
The 2018 Farm Bill, however, doesn’t mention Delta-8. Here is its definition of hemp:
DeAngelo said he had only hemp products at his store that fit the definition from the farm bill.
He thinks his store was targeted because it was in Hollidaysburg Borough. He said when his store was previously located in Altoona, he didn’t have legal issues.
“I was told every [Delta-8 store] was getting shut down,” DeAngelo said. “they’re arresting dispensaries, they were arresting every CBD store, that’s what was gonna happen. But isn’t it funny — after me, nobody.”
Weeks didn’t mention any county-wide or systematic investigation going into Delta-8 or CBD stores in his interview with WTAJ.
He admitted the state’s current law leaves some gray areas.
“There is a provision in Pennsylvania law saying that hemp is legal, and Delta-8 is found in hemp,” Weeks said. “So I think that’s what is creating the controversy.”
Weeks compared the controversy to the Commonwealth’s Medical Marijuana Act, which legalizes its use for medicinal purposes, Pennsylvania’s current DUI laws have a zero-tolerance policy for marijuana, meaning you could get charged with DUI with any amount of cannabis in your system whether impaired or not — and whether you have a medical marijuana card or not, according to Weeks.
“That doesn’t make a lot of sense, and it’s something I believe the legislature is looking into changing,” Weeks said, citing the similarity to the Delta-8 gray areas.
DeAngelo sees it differently and says there are no gray areas. Instead, he claims the police are misunderstanding the law.
“It’s almost like if you didn’t like Swiss cheese because you didn’t like the taste of it, or you didn’t agree with it because it was Swiss cheese,” DeAngelo said, “and that gives you the right to go into a grocery store and confiscate all their Swiss cheese and arrest them for selling that just because you’re just not quite clear on the law, but you’re going to do it anyway.”