Amanda Ruane was hurting. She needed something.
“You know, the depression was so heavy. I can’t even describe it,” Ruane recalled from her home in McKinney. For her, what worked was CBD oil, the new health craze in North Texas that is drawing questions on whether it’s legal.
Ruane swears by the oil, saying people like her can improve their lives with CBD because it can relieve depression, calm anxiety and reduce the severity of epileptic seizures.
Ruane said she assumed CBD oil was legal in Texas because stores selling the product were opening up all across the state.
“They sell it just out in the open, right down the road here,” Ruane said.
But in neighboring Tarrant County, prosecutors say possession of some CBD products can land a person in jail on felony drug charges.
“It’s illegal. And until the legislature changes that, it’s going to continue to be illegal,” said Larry Moore, criminal division chief for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.
CBD oil is derived from hemp, a plant that’s part of the cannabis family. But it does not produce a high because it contains little or no THC, the intoxicant in marijuana, which is also part of the cannabis group.
Not all Texas prosecutors agree on what to do about CBD. Some told NBC 5 Investigates they will “not” aggressively pursue CBD-only cases, while others said they are still deciding how to deal with the oil.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office, meanwhile, has not issued a legal opinion on how state law relates to CBD.
“I would say it’s very muddy,” said Texas Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Dist. 91), at Tarrant County Republican who is working on a bill to clarify things.
Klick has already authored the state’s “compassionate use” law, creating three licensed dispensaries where patients….