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Idaho Police Seize Legal Hemp Shipment, Jail Truck Driver

The Idaho State Police seized a shipment of legal hemp in transit between Oregon and Colorado and jailed the driver, despite the fact that the cargo is federally legal and is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Full story after the jump.

In what is becoming a worrying trend after the seizure of a legal hemp shipment in Oklahoma earlier this month, police have once again seized a completely legal shipment of industrial hemp, this time in Idaho, according to a CNN report.

The hemp was on its way from state-licensed hemp grower Boones Ferry Berry Farms in Hubbard, Oregon to Big Sky Scientific in Colorado, where it was meant to be refined into CBD extract. At a weigh station near Boise, however, an Idaho state trooper stopped the truck, driven by Denis Palamarchuck, for an inspection.

The bill of lading for the cargo said it was industrial hemp but, as the Idaho State Police (ISP) said in a press release, “The trooper’s training and experience made him suspicious that the cargo was in fact marijuana.” A drug-sniffing dog and portable THC test were enough to land Palamarchuck in jail facing felony trafficking of “illicit marijuana” charges.

All told, 6,700 pounds of industrial hemp were confiscated.

Since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp federally, interstate hemp commerce should now be protected by the Commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution, which states that state-legal goods being shipped between two states can’t be interfered with as they pass through other states. According to federal law, industrial hemp can contain up to 0.3 percent THC, which is still enough to make a basic test for THC show positive, even though it would be technically legal.

Big Sky Scientific is now suing for the return of its 6,700 pounds of industrial hemp held by the ISP. The company has test results that show the hemp crop contains about 0.043% THC — an order of magnitude below the legal limit.

According to Idaho State Police, Idaho laws say any substance containing any amount of THC is illegal. “Idaho State Police troopers will continue to aggressively enforce Idaho laws,” said a spokesperson for the ISP.

Palamarchuck has posted $100,000 bail and is awaiting prosecution.

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