As we blogged about in May 2019, a then-69-year-old great-grandmother was arrested at Disney World when an Orange County deputy found CBD oil in her purse. The incident received national attention and highlighted the confusion over federal and state laws surrounding cannabis and cannabis products. While marijuana is illegal at the federal level, it is legal in several states. For hemp and hemp-derived products, like most commercially available CBD products, it is the opposite—it is legal at the federal level, but not expressly legal in all states.
While charges against the woman, Hester Jordan Burkhalter, were quickly dropped, she has now filed a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Co. and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, among several others. The complaint is not yet available on the Orange County Clerk’s website, but the complaint reportedly asserts claims for illegal detention, false arrest, and violation of civil rights. Ms. Burkhalter is represented by Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney famous for representing the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, as well as families in the wake of the Flint, Michigan water crisis.
We will continue to report on developments in this case, and the rest of the cannabis industry, on our blog.