Fun fact: There are more products at your local supermarket capable of getting a person high than anything Idaho businessman Mike Larsen plans to sell at his store. Consider for example the poppy seed bagel, which on its own, can cause a person to test positive for drugs. Just ask Elaine Benes, Jerry Seinfeld’s TV sitcom friend who hilariously couldn’t go on a business trip to Africa after consuming poppy seed muffins and failing a drug screening.

Though fictional in Benes’ case, poppy seeds in everyday products can result in flunked drug tests. And, believe it or not, were it possible to consume massive quantities of poppy seed bagels or muffins, one could get high from the seed’s opium coating. Poppy seed consumption is enough of an issue that federal prison parolees are warned to not consume poppy seed products, lest they test positive for apparent drug use.

That said, if you patronize Larsen’s nascent Welcomed Science store in Garden City looking for a “high,” you’re misinformed, already high, a government official — or all three.

Yes, Larsen is in the cannabis business. However, stoners will draw no satisfaction from drinking or bathing in his cannabidiol oil products. The fact: CBD oil, as it is known, is incapable of producing a high.

The good news, though, is many people who have used CBD oil have found it to have palliative properties, providing relief from pain and stopping epileptic seizures. Because of its therapeutic value, CBD oil has been approved for use in 16 states. Of course, in the case of Idaho, in 2015 Gov. Butch Otter’s alien replicant infamously vetoed a CBD oil bill. Regardless, Larsen contends his CBD oil uses the mature stalks of a hemp plant, which makes it immune from state oversight.

At the federal level, officials in both the Obama and Trump administrations have backed new regulations seeming to ban any form of CBD oil regardless of its form or origins. Yet, unofficial guidance from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration weeks ago seems to have given the greenlight to Larsen’s products.

Nonetheless, the Otter administration continues to fret needlessly over CBD oil. Idaho’s Office of Drug Policy director Elisha Figueroa told KTVB-TV the problem with CBD is “the experts will tell you that it’s made from the flower of the plant which is absolutely marijuana.” And that’s absolutely false. It is true that there is a CBD oil variant made from the marijuana flower, equally incapable of getting people high. All the same, Larsen plans to sell a product derived from mature hemp stalk; his CBD oil is a real, viable product and a blessing to many despite what Figueroa believes, no matter how wrong she is.

Larsen’s business has the added benefit of bringing to southern Idaho that which is available over the Internet and by a short trek across state lines to Oregon or Washington, where marijuana products — both psychoactive and non-psychoactive — are sold legally.  

Regardless of the benefits, and lack of danger, to anyone who consumes CBD oil products, it’s easy to predict how the state will handle Larsen’s venture. More so than the federal government, Idaho will spend a great deal of resources threatening, cajoling, auditing and harassing Larsen and his business partner, facts be damned, all because of the Otter administration’s bizarre and unnecessary crusade against plant-based, completely safe and effective, pain relief.

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