(CN) – A Colorado industrial hemp company filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the Idaho State Police after its 6,701 pound shipment was seized during a stop in Boise last week, claiming that the police violated a 2018 federal law that legalized the manufacture and sale of industrial hemp.
The company’s driver was stopped by police and arrested for illegally trafficking marijuana from a farm in Oregon to a distribution center in Colorado. Big Sky Scientific said in its lawsuit that the seizure and arrest were both unlawful due to the 2018 federal farm bill and that the goods being transported were hemp and not marijuana.
Unlike weed, hemp contains minuscule amounts of THC, the active chemical that can make people high. Both plants fall under the cannabis family, though Congress approved the industrial use of hemp last year in products such as clothing, biofuel, building materials and paper.
In an interview with the Idaho Statesman last week, police spokesman Tim Marsano said Idaho law recognizes both hemp and marijuana as illegal.
“Our troopers adhere to Idaho law,” Marsano said. “Substances with any amount of THC are illegal in this state.”
“The 2018 Farm Bill prohibits states from blocking the transportation of industrial hemp in interstate commerce as Defendants have done,” the complaint states. “Notwithstanding the 2018 Farm Bill, states cannot prohibit the shipment of a legal good through interstate commerce under the Commerce Clause.”
Big Sky Scientific also alleges that the field test used by police at the traffic stop was incapable of determining the THC level of the hemp. Whereas marijuana can contain up to 40 percent THC, hemp typically has less than 0.3 percent.
The company’s driver, Denis Palamarchuk, was released on $100,000 bond. Big Sky Scientific seeks an injunction for the immediate return of its shipment.
Elijah Watkins of Stoel Rives represents the company.