Hemp entrepreneurs are facing jail time and hefty legal fees for transporting the plant across state lines, despite a federal guarantee that states can’t block legal hemp transport.
Massive police seizures in Idaho and Oklahoma raised questions about how state and local law enforcement are supposed to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana.
Since the Farm Bill passed:
- Four men working for a hemp-transportation company, Patriot Shield National Transport, were stopped in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, for running a red light. All four were charged with drug crimes for allegedly carrying some 18,000 pounds of Kentucky cannabis destined for Panacea Life Sciences, a CBD manufacturer in Louisville, Colorado. The men said they were carrying legal hemp; federal drug authorities say the plants had too much THC to be considered hemp and not marijuana.
- An Oregon truck driver was arrested in Boise, Idaho, for carrying roughly 6,700 pounds of cannabis from Oregon to Big Sky Scientific, a CBD manufacturer in Aurora, Colorado.
The cases suggest that local and state law enforcement don’t understand that interstate commerce is legal now for the plant.
“We were very forthcoming with the cops,” said Tyler Dickinson, co-owner of Patriot Shield, with headquarters in Denver and Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“We told them, ‘We’re hauling hemp, and here’s our paperwork.’ It was all there, certified by the state of Kentucky.”
In the Idaho case, Big Sky Scientific is suing Idaho State Police over the seizure.
“It’s a lawful crop, akin to oranges or potatoes or cotton,” Elijah Watkins, Big Sky’s lawyer, told Hemp Industry Daily.
“We have a state completely stopping interstate commerce of a federally legal commodity.”