When Denis Palamarchuk, a trucker from Portland, Oregon, presented his bill of lading for 6,700 pounds of industrial hemp to officials at the Idaho port of entry on January 24, 2019, he surely never dreamed of the nightmare that lay ahead. Hemp had been legalized federally under the 2018 Farm Bill and was legal in nearly every other state. Just last week, tests were publicized regarding the “green, leafy” cargo in question, and it was proven to be hemp with THC levels under 0.3 percent. But that hasn’t helped Mr. Palamarchuk, because Idaho draws no distinction between hemp and marijuana. The ISP gleefully declared this the biggest “marijuana” bust in state history, and prosecutors brought charges carrying a mandatory five-year sentence – no possibility of parole. He joins two other truck drivers who are awaiting sentencing for driving industrial hemp through Idaho.
We are legislators representing different parties, but we agree on the basic principle that your tax dollars should never be used to perpetrate injustice.
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