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"No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people." — H.L. Mencken

CBD-infused products are all the rage these days, and the craze has caught federal and state governments flat-footed.

On Sunday, the Associated Press reported Missouri tax officials are raising questions about the legality of stores selling the largely unregulated product.

What is it? CBD stands for cannabidiol. It's derived from cannabis, or, its more common name, marijuana.

But, to us, the issue isn't about regulating drugs. CBD doesn't contain the THC that produces the high in marijuana. It's more about regulating snake oil.

Sellers of CBD oil say the product eases symptoms of anxiety, depression, acne, heart disease and more. But like many dietary supplements, scant scientific evidence exists to back up the claims.

As long as there are problems, entrepreneurs are going to come up with solutions — even if they don't work. Arsenic and opium were sold as miracle cures in the 1800s. Morphine was sold to calm infants. A century later, AIDS patients were desperate to get their hands on shark cartilage.

So, as CBD products now fly off the shelves, the FDA says it is "continuing to evaluate the regulatory frameworks" of the issue. Not helpful.

Here in Missouri, officials are giving bumbling non-responses to questions about whether it's legal to sell CBD products in the state. The AP reported neither the Missouri Department of Revenue nor the state's attorney general has been willing to release the attorney general's legal opinion on the question.

In the mean time, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, it appears to be don't-ask-don't-tell policy. Businesses selling CBD oil can get a sales tax license as long as they don't say they are selling it.

Unless and until the state and the feds can get their act together about the effectiveness and legality of CBD products, we'll leave you with the best advice we have: buyer beware.

News Tribune

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