A Laramie County, Wyoming Circuit Court judge last week tossed drug trafficking charges against hemp growers ruling that prosecutors didn’t have probable cause that the mother and son intended to cultivate and distribute THC-rich cannabis, Oil City News reports. Judge Antoinette Williams also dismissed charges against a contractor and his wife who worked for the farmers and were on the property when it was raided.
The hemp farm owned by Debra Palm-Egle and Joshua Egle was raided by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation in November 2019. The pair, along with Brock and Shannon Dyke, were charged with conspiracy to manufacture, deliver or possess marijuana; possession with intent to deliver marijuana; possession of marijuana – all felonies – and a lesser charge planting or cultivating marijuana.
On the day of the enforcement action, Brock Dyke provided investigators with test results showing the crops contained less than 0.3 percent THC and were, thereby, legal under Wyoming law. DCI agents seized 700 pounds of crops from the farm and conducted independent testing finding most of the plants contained 0.3 percent THC; the highest concentration was 0.6 percent.
Laramie County Assistant District Attorney David Singleton, who prosecuted the case, argued that any plant testing over 0.3 percent THC is illegal cannabis, not legal hemp. However, Williams ruled that it was clear the farmers intended to grow legal hemp. She said she understood why prosecutors pursued the case but that it lacked probable cause. Williams did reprimand the mother and son for cultivating hemp without a license, for which they could face a $750 fine.
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