Mickey Mouse’s unhappy hemp visitor? 69-year-old woman arrested in Disney World for CBD

Mickey Mouse’s unhappy hemp visitor? 69-year-old woman arrested in Disney World for CBD

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ORLANDO, FL — A 69-year-old great grandmother who was carrying doctor-recommended CBD oil in her purse was recently arrested in full sight of Cinderella’s Palace and all the other magic at Disney World Orlando.

Hester Jordan Burkhalter, a North Carolina resident, was arrested in mid-April for the crime of carrying a non-psychoactive hemp product she claims is for her arthritis. Multiple sources report that Burkhalter was released on $2,000 bail on April 15 after spending 12 hours in jail.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, the woman had been planning her trip to Disney with her family for two years before being unceremoniously stopped at the gate and put in jail by an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy. [1]

CBD and hemp generally were made legal at the federal level in 2018, but Florida law still outlaws the substances. This made for a rather rude surprise for Burkhalter, who was completely unsuspecting of the discrepancy.

The surprise is likely compounded, as she probably drove past more than one store selling CBD products on her way to Orlando. According to Fox reporting, the state is full of CBD vendors despite its current prohibition. [3]

“I didn’t know what to think. I couldn’t understand it,” Burkhalter said in a video posted by a local Fox affiliate WOFL. “I didn’t feel like I done nothing wrong. I’ve never had but one speeding ticket in my life. I’ve never been in a jailhouse.” [3]

The News & Observer reports that the woman’s peppermint CBD oil wasn’t even a full-spectrum variety that might trigger a workplace drug test, as it contained 0% THC. [1]

“I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms and in my shoulder,” Burkhalter told WOFL. “I use (CBD oil) for the pain because it helps.” [2]

The New York Daily News reported that the charge which landed Burkhalter in the hoosegow was listed on the Sheriff’s records as “possession of hashish,” although the charges against her were ultimately dropped. [2]

Adding insult to injury, Florida state lawmakers are expected to pass a bill legalizing CBD within the state in the next few months, though the Orlando Sheriff’s office insists they were acting within the law when they ruined Burkhalter’s family vacation. [2]

Burkhalter's lawyer Jennifer Synnamon provided a statement to Fox News regarding the arrest:

“…Why Sheriff Mina would support his deputies using their resources for a CBD oil arrest of a 69-year-old woman, but then won’t do anything about the gas stations, health food stores, drug stores, etc. that are selling it to the open public is absolutely beyond my comprehension. The State of Florida finds nothing wrong with collecting the sales tax on illegal products, but they allow prosecution for possession of the same. I want to commend Aramis Ayala’s office for reviewing the case and swiftly determining that they would not prosecute.” [3]


[1] https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article230142959.html

[2] https://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/ny-disney-world-arrest-cbd-oil-arthritis-elderly-woman-20190508-ng6nxu2i5jeqfabipajjcfq44i-story.html

[3] https://www.foxnews.com/travel/grandmother-cbd-arrested-disney-world

[4] https://nypost.com/2019/05/07/great-grandmother-with-cbd-oil-arrested-at-disney-world/