A week ago some alert local cops in Pawhuska, OK thought they busted a major crime syndicate. An entire semi trailer full of bundled green plant material was uncovered.
The four individuals traveling in the semi and a van were taken into custody, declaring their innocence the whole time. They explained that industrial hemp is not a federally controlled substance.
Industrial Hemp never should have been banned more than 50 years ago; but it was. And the only reason that makes any sense is that it's easily confused with a similar cannabis strain known as Marijuana.
So now the rural cops are living down to an unflattering stereotype. But the four men are still facing charges.
The plant is harvested for it's CBD oil and fiber. The CBD oil has less than the federally legal trace amounts of THC. But it's still effective for many medical conditions.
The Colorado company is screaming foul at Oklahoma law enforcement for violating interstate commerce laws and the Uniform Commercial Code.
Colorado News Media Is not at all sympathetic to Oklahoma law enforcement for their ignorance. Citizens have been continuously lectured that "ignorance of the law is no excuse". But this time it's Oklahoma cops who are demonstrating the gross ignorance. Read the Colorado media perspective.
The 2018 farm bill, removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act & provides protections for the interstate commerce of hemp.
Pawhuska law enforcement had this to say;
"They didn’t have a proper Bill of lading, they didn’t have the proper tags, they didn’t have the proper tax stamps and what not, and that’s what’s making this illegal," said Rex Wikel with the Pawhuska Police Department.
The shipper instructed the transporters not to travel through Kansas, Texas, or Illinois.
Pawhuska is along Route 60 which connects Kentucky with the Oklahoma Panhandle. It avoids Kansas, which has strict state prohibitions on cannabis. It appears that the transporters were fearing ignorant Kansas law enforcement, but found Oklahoma police were even worse.
The federal law states that "no state or Indian tribe shall prohibit transportation or shipment of hemp that was produced in accordance with the law". This shipment was grown in Kentucky and was purchased by a Colorado processor.
Kentucky, tightly controls its hemp industry, providing testing procedures and disposal procedures should hemp test above the federal threshold.
The shipping bill gave instructions on way points. It appears that the instruction to go through Tulsa was ignored. The navigators took Route 60 across Missouri and appear to have opted to stay on that route, which led to the fateful Pawhuska incident.
It was assumed by the shipper that once in Springfield, MO; the caravan would opt for I-44 to get to Tulsa more quickly, then take Hwy 412 (Cimarron Turnpike) to get to Western Oklahoma.