Oklahoma’s law enforcement officers have seized nine tons of suspected marijuana early in the month. According to the truck drivers, the police had already started prosecution even before the test results were revealed. The drivers insist that what they had was actually industrial hemp and not marijuana.
Drivers Were Arrested and Jailed
The truck, which contained more than 17,000 lbs. of hemp, was apprehended in Pawhuska, Oklahoma on January 9 during a traffic stop. The drivers were on their way to Colorado from Kentucky and provided the officers with a bill of sale for the hemp. However, the officers said that the document was somewhat vague and they insisted that the law of Colorado states that the marijuana can only be cultivated and sold within the state.
The drivers told the officers that they are delivering the products to a business establishment in Colorado that has legally acquired the hemp, and where recreational marijuana is legal. Furthermore, hemp was legalized recently after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Yet despite the approval of the bill, the drivers were arrested and put to jail under charges of drug trafficking.
Unclear That It Wasn’t Marijuana
The law enforcement officials of Oklahoma have defended their decision by saying that it was unclear what the drivers were transporting, despite the company president saying that what the drivers were transporting for them was hemp. There was even paperwork provided certifying that the shipment was tested and that it only contained less than 0.3% of THC, which means that it’s hemp.
According to the lawyers of the accused, the federal testing has already been completed and 11 separate samples were taken from the products. The test results show that 5 of the 11 samples had THC amounting to less than 0.3%. All samples have shown that the products have barely above 0.3% THC. All have less than 1% THC, which is the bar that the federal government has set in terms of the difference between an intentional and negligent violation of cannabis laws.
Accidental transport of industrial hemp that has more than 0.3% of THC carries no penalty in the federal law. However, the state of Oklahoma has the right through state law to fine businesses that are transporting the products in between states.
The Entire Shipment Will Be Tested
The District Attorney of Oklahoma wasn’t satisfied with the results of the test and requested the entire shipment to be tested. Interestingly, the only state that’s capable of conducting such a test is the state of Colorado, which is where the shipment was actually headed. As a result, the decision of the district attorney was questioned. They insist on more testing to be conducted before a decision is finally made.
Four people were arrested in relation to the shipment. These include the drivers of the truck and the van drivers that were following the truck. The drivers of the follow van were able to post bail but the drivers of the truck are still in custody.