CBD store owner faces felony charges after raid

The owner of a CBD shop is facing criminal charges that could mean spending decades in prison. He says he’s innocent, but one store owner in his industry isn’t too sympathetic.

Chris Syrrakos is still behind the counter at Superstar Buds despite law enforcement raiding his business back in March.

"They destroyed my whole life, my family," said Syrrakos. "I’m facing 50 years for selling CBD."

Chris Syrrakos

Chris Syrrakos

Syrrakos closed his Superstar Buds store in Menomonee Falls following the raid and moved his business to West Allis, but he can’t escape the store’s history.

Syrrakos is facing nine felonies and two misdemeanors, including Possession with Intent to Deliver THC and Maintaining a Drug Trafficking Place.

"We never implied to anyone that we were selling marijuana which is what they’re accusing me of," said Syrrakos. "We were selling hemp."

A criminal complaint says an undercover officer made a series of purchases from Superstar Buds that revealed products with THC levels well-over the legal limit for hemp, which is 0.3% Delta 9 THC. Some vape cartridges that law enforcement brought to a lab for testing allegedly contained up to 40% Delta 9 THC.

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Syrakkos told Contact 6 he doesn’t believe the test results are accurate. He also says it’s up to his suppliers to get the THC levels right.

"We’re 100 percent reliant upon the certificates of analysis given to us by our suppliers," said Syrrakos.

It’s an argument that doesn’t go over well with Rachel Cartwright, the owner of CBD Therapeutics of Wisconsin in Oak Creek. Cartwright, who says punishment for a pot conviction more than a decade ago motivated her to follow the rules, acknowledges there’s a lot of gray in the state’s regulation of hemp products. Still, she says there are best practices CBD retailers should follow.

"The first thing that you do when you get something into your facility is test it," said Cartwright. "Everything that you’re handling should have literally less than 1% THC."

Rachel Cartwright

Rachel Cartwright

The criminal complaint says Syrrakos did test his product at least once. It says he texted a supplier, "I took the last batch to get tested in town and these clowns have no idea how to test," along with an image of a lab certificate showing "Delta 9 THC concentration of 13.49%". The complaint says Syrrakos then "continued to order multiple liters of the same distillate."

Syrrakos told Contact 6 he disputes several claims in the criminal complaint. He says he has all new inventory since the raid because he wasn’t sent a detailed list of the products tested by law enforcement.

"We weren’t sure on anything so we just got all new brands," said Syrrakos. "Most [items are] from California and Colorado and Oregon."

Chris Syrrakos

Chris Syrrakos

Syrrakos has one more argument. He doesn’t believe the police nor the sheriff’s department had the authority to crack down on his business. The way Syrrakos interprets the law, he says only the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection (DATCP) can regulate his industry.

"I know more about this, I believe, than the DA does and the police department," said Syrrakos.

A DATCP official told Contact 6 that law enforcement can investigate illegal drug operations, but acknowledges there is not clear regulation of many CBD products.

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"There’s a lot of contradicting laws that can make anyone in the industry into a criminal for one thing or another," said Syrrakos.

On December 13th, Syrrakos appeared in Waukesha County Court and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. It appears a jury will decide whether he’s guilty of the charges against him.

The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department says it can’t comment on ongoing investigations. Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper told Contact 6 she "will not comment on this pending case."

DATCP was unable to provide answers to questions about who has enforcement authority over CBD shops by this report’s deadline.

Syrrakos is represented by Bucher Law Group which also declined to comment on this report.


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