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Mike Renlund

Idaho Police Agencies Take Different Approaches to Hemp

Multiple interstate hemp shipments have been seized by Idaho police — at least one shipment has been returned but, in another incident, a trucker still faces a potential five-year prison sentence for drug trafficking.

Full story after the jump.

The two Idaho criminal cases where police seized hemp being transported through the state have had strikingly different results – one company has had their hemp returned by authorities, while the other’s remains impounded.

In February, Idaho State Police seized a 6,700-pound shipment of legal hemp from Boones Ferry Berry Farms in transit between Oregon and Colorado and jailed the driver and have refused to return the cargo, which is worth about $1 million. The trucker faces a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for drug trafficking, the Idaho Press reports.

In an unrelated case in May, Boise Police officers intercepted a 69-pound package from Ontario, Canada as it was making its way through a United Postal Service distribution center in Boise to Treasure Valley Extraction in Oregon.

After testing by a Kentucky laboratory – which found THC levels of zero throughout the 17-box shipment – it was returned to sender.

Jim Hutchens, a former law enforcement officer who is now president and CEO of Treasure Valley Extraction, said he doesn’t blame police for confiscating the shipment but, at the time, the company was concerned about mold and mildew affecting the product.

“Basically, I want people to understand the separation between hemp and marijuana. They are two completely different plants even though they look alike, and they smell alike. They do different things.” – Hutchens, to CBS2

A spokesperson for BPD declined to comment on the case, calling it “a legislative issue … that is currently being worked on.”

A third case involving ISP seizing a shipment from Montana’s Big Sky Scientific and arresting the driver is still making its way through the courts. The company’s driver still has pending charges, the hemp has not been returned; ISP Director Kendrick Wills and Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennets say that until the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases rules governing hemp, “[it’s] not legal in Idaho.”

In May, the agency did release a memo explicitly allowing interstate hemp transport.

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