Minnesota Hemp Farmer Faces Charges for Alleged High THC Count

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A hemp farmer in Minnesota was recently arrested and charged with two felonies and one gross misdemeanor for allegedly growing hemp that was over the legal limit for THC, according to a report from Twin Cities Pioneer Press. The farmer’s name is Luis Hummel, and he runs the 5th Sun Gardens Hemp Farm in Lanesboro, Minnesota.

Law enforcement initiated a traffic stop back on March 15th, 2019. A county sheriff’s deputy seized the hemp-derived products after they were eventually found in a vehicle, and the driver said the products had come from Hummel’s farm. The criminal complaint outlined in the report from Twin Cities Pioneer Press states that the driver told the deputy that the products were illegal. There is no indication as to why the driver offered up this information.

Hummel was then charged with drug sales and possession. Police say the THC count in the hemp products is ten times more than the legal limit for hemp sales in the state, after tests were done on the products. Hummel is currently in the process of suing the state of Minnesota over a cease and desist order that he received on May 1st, 2019. The order informed Hummel that he was being removed from the state’s legal hemp program, and that his license to participate in the program would be suspended for one year. Additionally, Hummel was ordered to destroy the entire crop and to not grow any more at this time.

The complaint also alleges that Hummel intended to “entice the buyer” by making his hemp products appear to be more like that of cannabis products. In the lawsuit, Hummel contends that the driver of the initial traffic stop was not arrested or charged with anything themselves, and that the cease and desist letter was premature because there hadn’t been any tests done on the hemp products when the letter was sent out. Hummel’s lawsuit says that the letter and the order to destroy his entire hemp crop violated his due process rights. Hummel estimated that his farm was worth about $3.5 million before the letter was sent out.

Paul Johnson, who is the President of the Minnesota Hemp Farmers and Manufacturers Association, agrees with Hummel’s arguments, and said that the hemp in question was under the legal limit of 0.03% THC at the time it was tested by law enforcement. “My concern is that again, it shows how the regulation is not contemporaneous with what is really happening,” Johnson said.

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