Idaho ban on hemp and CBD has legal ripple effects

Idaho ban on hemp and CBD has legal ripple effects

In January, thousands of pounds of hemp from Colorado were seized in Idaho. In May, Boise police seized hemp sent in the mail from a company based in Oregon.

Idaho’s state laws banning hemp and CBD have created confusion in the wake of federal legalization that passed in December of 2018. South Dakota is another state where police have arrested hemp drivers or seized hemp due to state law, and the trend generally emphasizes the complications of the young industry.

Colorado company Big Sky Scientific was the subject of the January confiscation in Boise, where 6,701 pounds of cannabis flower was seized by police. [4]

In a Thursday statement, Big Sky said it “has offered to settle this case and all future cases, including claims for money damages, against the State if it will just give back Big Sky’s industrial hemp and allow it to continue to do its business by shipping its lawful product through Idaho in interstate commerce,” according to KTVB 7. [4]

Some news reports place the value of that large shipment as high as $1.3 million. [4]

The 38-year-old driver of the shipment seized was Denis Palamarchuk had to plead to a misdemeanor charge in order to skate on the heavier possible charges.

"While ignorance of the law is not defense to criminal prosecution, there is colorable argument that the defendant's mistaken belief about the status of legalization was due to the representations of his employer, the producer, and the recipient of his load,” Court documents said, according to Yahoo! News. [2]

Big Sky Scientific sued Ada County for a return of their huge stockpile of valuable hemp crops, but this week chose to discontinue the suit. [2]

The more recent May confiscation of the Oregon company’s product only seized 69 pounds of hemp, but for those business-owners the cost was certainly real. [1]

Ada County prosecutors in Idaho chose not to move forward with the case in May. “The [Ada County Prosecutor’s Office] would not screen this case because although a crime may have been committed in another state, it was not committed in Idaho,” department spokesperson Bethany Calley wrote in an email to the Idaho Press. [1]

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture announced this summer that the interstate transport of hemp plants is not to be tampered with. This means Idaho and South Dakota seizures of trucking hemp are illegitimate, but police have generally said the hemp was questionably high in THC content as an excuse for the arrests.