A judge is expected to make a ruling as to whether four Washington County residents should face felony charges in district court for illegally distributing cannabidiol.

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Deborah Archer

Courtesy

Deborah S. Archer, 51, of Blair, Cory L. Russell, 28, of Herman, Edward L. Hossner, 51, and Donna R. Johnson, 49, both of Kennard, appeared in a joint preliminary hearing Thursday in Washington County Court.

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Cory Russell

Courtesy

Cannabidiol, also known as “CBD,” is a marijuana derivative and is a controlled substance according to Nebraska state statute.

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Edward Hossner

Courtesy

Archer, Russell, Hossner and Johnson were arrested in December following a month-long investigation of DJ’s Vapes, 408 Main St., Herman, by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation centered around the sales and distribution of items containing cannabidiol.

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Donna Johnson

Courtesy

Hossner and Johnson, who are alleged to be co-owners of the store, are charged with conspiracy, a Class IIA felony.

Archer, store manager and co-owner, is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class IIA felony; and conspiracy.

Russell is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and conspiracy.

During the preliminary hearing, Detective Sgt. Aaron Brensel testified the sheriff’s office became aware of the potential of drugs being sold in the convenience store after they were contacted by some concerned parents.

On Nov. 1, Brensel entered the store, where Russell was working. He observed a variety of grocery items for sale.

“What really caught my eye were items labeled CBD,” Brensel said.

Brensel also saw a small sign promoting CBDs, which he said he knew to be illegal due to state statute and a memorandum sent to all county attorneys by