A great-grandmother from North Carolina got a big surprise when she arrived at Disney World—a 12 hour stay in the Orange County jail.
Hester Jordan Burkhalter, 69, had been planning and saving for her trip to the Happiest Place on Earth for two years, but the fun was over almost as soon as she arrived, after she was caught with CBD oil by police officers outside of the Magic Kingdom.
CBD is a non-intoxicating compound derived from cannabis, largely used by patients to relieve pain and anxiety without the high typically associated with marijuana. Burkhalter said her physician back home recommended CBD oil to treat her arthritis.
"I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms and in my shoulder," she told Fox News. "I use [CBD oil] for the pain because it helps."
Even though Burkhalter brought the doctor's note recommending CBD with her on the trip, that wasn't enough to keep her out of trouble in Florida. CBD is only legal for individuals with medical marijuana cards in the Sunshine State. So any out-of-state patients who bring their medication along for the trip are violating state law, which disproportionately punishes CBD oil, according to Jennifer Synnamon, Burkhalter's lawyer.
"A little drop of oil, with the CBD, is a felony," in Florida, Synnamon explained. "Meanwhile, you can have up to 19.9 grams of leaf-marijuana, and it's a first-degree misdemeanor."
Despite that law, CBD is commonly sold to patients and non-patients alike across the state, and police have done little to keep it off store shelves.
"Why [Orange County] Sheriff Mina would support his deputies using their resources for a CBD oil arrest of a 69-year-old woman, but then won't do anything about the gas stations, health food stores, drug stores, etc. that are selling it to the open public is absolutely beyond my comprehension," said Synnamon.
Hemp-derived CBD is now also effectively legal on the federal level as well, meaning the state of Florida is upholding outdated laws on a substance that for all intents and purposes should be perfectly acceptable for adults to buy and use.
Burkhalter was released from prison after posting a $2,000 bond, and the charges against her were subsequently dropped.
However, this should also serve as a warning to medical marijuana patients across the country, who should leave their CBD oil at home when looking to visit Florida resorts and theme parks.