An Oregon hemp company is suing sheriff’s departments from two counties claiming they unlawfully seized and destroyed more than $2 million worth of its crop, the Capital Press reports. The company asserts that the law enforcement agencies claimed the crop was THC-rich cannabis and that the search warrant used in the raid contained “false statements.”
The complaint is filed against the sheriff’s departments of Josephine and Jackson counties and alleges that law enforcement executed a “facially invalid” warrant to search for illegally-grown cannabis on April 22 at a property in Williams leased by the Oregonized Hemp Co. and its owner, Justin Pitts, the report says.
Despite being told the crop was legal industrial hemp, the complaint says officers “explicitly rejected” the warnings and confiscated 5,000 pounds of the company’s crops. According to the Press, neither civil nor criminal charges were filed against Pitts for unlawful cannabis production. The complaint alleges that the crops were regularly tested by state the state Agriculture Department and were below the 0.3 percent legal threshold.
The complaint further alleges “a pattern and practice” of intimidation and harassment by the counties’ law enforcement agencies toward the company and Pitts and alleges that they have been denied equal protection under the law, the report says.
The lawsuit seeks $2.5 million in compensation from the counties for unlawful seizure, unlawful taking and violations of due process because the search warrant wasn’t supported by probable cause. The lawsuit alleges that the sheriff’s departments destroyed the hemp “to cover up the fact” that they had unlawfully confiscated the plants in the initial action.