As a California resident who declines to partake in one of its finest exports, I have no idea how to differentiate hemp from weed, and apparently police can’t either, as a U-Haul truck filled to the brim with approximately 3,350 lbs. of one of the above landed one poor unfortunate hired driver behind bars.
From the Texas Tribune:
Last month, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper arrested a driver who the agency claimed was hauling more than a ton of marijuana through the state near Amarillo. Aneudy Gonzalez was jailed for nearly a month on federal charges, and the plant material was seized. But last week, the 39-year-old was released from jail, his case was dismissed and the cargo is expected to be returned.
The reason? Lab results indicate the substance was not marijuana but legal hemp.
In 2019, Texas passed a law that revamped the definition of marijuana, resulting in hundreds of weed-related cases being dropped and a significant decline in prosecutions. Yet despite this change, which Gonzalez noted after he was pulled over—he presented a lab report that proved the cargo he was transporting was perfectly legal. He was arrested anyway.
“The trooper arrested Mr. Gonzalez, and following further questioning by a [U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration] Task Force Officer, the DEA Officer adopted the investigation and took custody of Mr. Gonzalez and all evidence,” the agency said.
Because of this egregious mistake, Gonzalez’s lawyers argue that his client faced federal charges that could’ve resulted in a life sentence. They’re now pursuing a civil lawsuit and are demanding that officers receive more training on the difference between marijuana and hemp as to avoid future unlawful arrests.
“He spent Christmas in jail away from his family and kids,” Adam Tisdell, a cannabis criminal defense attorney representing Gonzalez, said.
Tisdell also noted that with hemp farming and transportation regulations coming into play, it’s possible that weed might not be illegal for much longer.
“They legalized a plant that has a distinction that’s invisible to everyone except a machine,” Tisdell said. “Aneudy got searched because they smelled marijuana. Well, they can’t smell marijuana anymore. They can smell cannabis.”