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Operation Candy Crush: Stores sold marijuana derivative that looks like candy

Staff Reports - MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (WKRN) - Almost two dozen stores were padlocked Monday morning during a joint operation across Rutherford County, targeting stores allegedly selling illegal marijuana products that look like candy.

Detectives from the sheriff's office and the Smyrna, Murfreesboro and LaVergne police departments carried out raids at 23 stores across the county. Twenty one people were indicted for selling illegal products.

Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh and Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold said they launched an investigation last year after hearing complaints from parents.

Undercover detectives bought products containing cannabidiol, or CBD, and some synthetic drugs at multiple stores. Cannabidiol was found in gummy bears, gummy worms and other products that look like candy. They cost anywhere from $7 to $70, and are advertised as mood enhancers and relaxers, according to police.

"We feel these stores are marketing these items toward minors," Fitzhugh said. "These items can commonly be confused by a child as candy and are illegal."

One of the businesses raided Monday appears to be an e-commerce company that sells oils, gummy worms and gummy bears with CBD. Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold said Cloud 9 Hemp is a distributor.

"If you look at some of the packaging, I think the packaging is coming from another country," said Arnold. "I don't think they are even being made in this country, but somehow these individuals in Smyrna were able to get this product and were able to distribute it out to some of our convenience stores."

Supporters of medical marijuana are not happy about the raids. Teresa Long stopped by one padlocked store in Murfreesboro to buy CBD oil she said she uses for a medical condition.

"I use CBD in my vape, and you can't even tell you're using it, but I have essential tremor and it helps me immensely."

Investigators insisted the products they seized are not legal and are unregulated, and some contain synthetic drugs which have killed two people in the United States.


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