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Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren issued a statement confirming that it is illegal to possess or distribute products containing cannabidiol or CBD as it's also called.

Ostergren said it all started back in the fall when police began hearing reports of retailers in the region selling products containing CBD. He explained that Muscatine Police Department found that some local retailers had a "significant inventory on hand." Police confiscated a number of these products and performed lab testing.

According to Ostergren, the test they used determined the products qualified as being marijuana under Iowa law.

"The purpose of the statement was to let the community know that these products are not legal," Ostergren said. "Rather than go out and start arresting people for the possession and distribution of these substances, I made the decision that the better move would be to inform people what the law was in this area."

He said such statement is to douse what he understands to be a spreading impression that such CBD products are legal in the State of Iowa.

"People have conflicting readings on what the law says," Ostergren said. So Ostergren said he appealed to the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Board of Pharmacy. He said both institutions confirmed the CBD products are not a legal form. 

"I think there has been a lot of assertions being made about what is and is not legal," Ostergren said. "I would encourage people to be careful about people taking legal advice and health advice from social media."

The degree of information surrounding CBD products has a lot to do with the amount of research available.

CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis. A survey of research in the Journal of Schizophrenia Research shows that CBD's antipsychotic properties do have potential as "an effective, safe and well-tolerated antipsychotic compound." However, that survey points out that a large, randomized clinical trial has not been done and would be necessary before such new treatments could be introduced into clinical practice.

"Regardless of what I think the pros and cons are in this for medical conditions, it’s not Alan Ostergren and the Muscatine Police that decided this stuff isn’t legal. That’s just what the law is," Ostergren said. "Our job is to enforce the law as it exists. If people want to live in a state where these products are legal, they should maybe communicate that to their lawmakers."