A Colorado hemp extraction company seeking the return of roughly 7,000 pounds of hemp biomass after it was seized in Idaho asked a federal court to override the state and affirm that hemp transportation is legal.
But Idaho lawyers say the Colorado company – Big Sky Scientific of Aurora – “jumped the gun” when it shipped hemp through Idaho in January, a month after passage of federal legislation that guaranteed interstate hemp transportation.
“They acted too early,” said Sherry Morgan, counsel for the Idaho county that seized the hemp.
Morgan argued that interstate transportation for hemp isn’t really guaranteed until the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) implements the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill by writing the rules for nationwide hemp production and transport.
Big Sky, arguing that the guarantee took effect when the bill became law, wants the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn an Idaho judge’s decision not to release the hemp seized in a January traffic stop.
“Hemp is now a national commodity,” Big Sky lawyer Christopher Pooser told the three-judge panel.
The judges repeatedly pressed Big Sky on why it didn’t challenge the ruling in Idaho courts, instead of filing a federal appeal.
“It sounds like you suspect things about the Idaho court, that they wouldn’t be fair to your client or respect federal law,” Judge Michael Daly Hawkins said.
Big Sky’s lawyer didn’t criticize the Idaho courts, instead pointing out the national dilemma about transporting hemp.
“The state court,” Pooser said, “can only rule on that one load of hemp. The issue is broader here.”
But Pooser conceded later in the hearing that Big Sky’s seizure may have been avoided with a different route.
“The only reason