A driver was arrested and 6,701 pounds of industrial hemp was seized in Idaho last week after a tractor-trailer was stopped at the state line for a routine inspection. According to the Colorado-based company Big Sky Scientific, who owns the hemp, the transport was completely legal.
The basis for their claim is that, under a recent federal farm bill, industrialized hemp was fully legalized at the federal level. Unfortunately for them, the regulations surrounding this new law remain unsettled, and vary wildly from state to state.
Industrialized hemp, unlike marijuana, contains very little THC, and cannot get you high. Instead, it is grown for building materials and the non-intoxicating cannabinoid CBD. Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas are among the states that currently still prohibit hemp-derived CBD.
Still, Big Sky expects that their protection under the 2018 bill will hold up—and they want their hemp back. In a lawsuit the company has brought against the state, they assert that the seized hemp is perishable, and susceptible to mold without proper airflow, and therefore are demanding swift action.
As for the driver, is fate remains uncertain. After spending four days in jail, Denis Palamarchuck was released after posting a $100,000 bond.
"It looks like Denis unknowingly drove his truck into a fight between the State of Idaho and the federal government regarding the legality of industrial hemp," his lawyer told CNN.