An Idaho judge has ruled that Colorado-based Big Sky Scientific must forfeit the 6,701 pounds of hemp seized by Idaho State Police last year as it was being transported from Oregon to Colorado, KTVB7 reports.
The incident occurred last February when the driver, who works for IYI Trucking and neither Big Sky nor Oregon-based Boones Ferry Berry Farms, stopped at a weigh station near Boise for an inspection by state police. After officers found the hemp, they arrested the driver and charged him with felony drug charges; ultimately, he pled guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge of carrying an improperly permitted load including faulty bill of lading. Following his initial arrest, the state police said that despite the bill of lading indicating the cargo was industrial hemp “the trooper’s training and experience made him suspicious that the cargo was in fact marijuana.”
Fourth District Judge Jonathan Medema ruled that hemp is still a controlled substance under state law – despite federal laws – writing in his memo that “it is a crime (in Idaho) to possess any plant with that genus, unless one possesses only the mature stalks of the plant.”
The ruling comes from a lawsuit by Big Sky against the Idaho State Police. The company said in September that they were willing to drop the suit if the hemp, valued at $1.3 million, was returned. Big Sky’s attorney, Elijah Watkins, told KTVB that he was evaluating the judge’s decision before deciding whether or not to file an appeal or see if there are any pieces of the case that could be considered by the state Supreme Court.
According to the report, at least three out-of-state truckers have been arrested transporting hemp through Idaho since federal legalization in 2018. In November, Republican Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order to allow hemp transport through the state. The executive order does not allow hemp production and requires the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Idaho State Police, and Idaho Transportation Department to come up with temporary rules and work cooperatively to carry out the order.
State lawmakers are considering hemp legalization legislation.
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