June 23, 2021



Border Patrol defends seizure of hemp at Charlotte airport


Litigation continues over 3,300 pounds of cannabis seized by law enforcement at Charlotte Douglas Airport.

It started with a tip-off from Oregon police officers that people had loaded a plane with military-style duffel bags and black garbage bags and removed the plane’s apparent seats.

The plane flew to Charlotte-Douglas Airport and then on to Switzerland, but agents say they found nearly 2,800 pounds of marijuana on the plane. The remaining 550 pounds of cargo were tested as legal hemp.

That November seizure – where government officials alleged a company, We CBD, had smuggled marijuana disguised as legal hemp cargo – sparked an ongoing legal battle.

In the latest development, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has called on the courts to dismiss We CBD’s lawsuit over 3,300 pounds of cannabis confiscated.

In addition, a lawyer for the Federal Border Police writes in the new filling that the representatives of We CBD did not submit the correct documents for his summons. Even industrial hemp with legal amounts of THC must be declared at U.S. airports when planes, passengers, and cargo fly overseas, the government’s response said.

The legal boundary between marijuana and hemp is clear. Marijuana is a cannabis plant that contains over 0.3% Delta-9 THC. Anything else counts as hemp, which the US legalized in 2018.

Distributor We CBD filed its lawsuit against CBP, alleging that the government acted inappropriately in seizing the marijuana / hemp and that the methods used to test the substance were flawed. We were not allowed to test CBD to challenge the government’s results.

However, CBP’s newly filed dismissal motion argues that We CBD has not exhausted its administrative remedies and that the case should be dismissed because it lacks substantive jurisdiction.

In a verified forfeiture complaint, CBP also alleges that We CBD did not declare its cargo through the automated system or list it on an air cargo manifest. According to the CBP, this means the hemp has fallen into disrepair.

However, William Terpening, an attorney representing We CBD, said that Border Patrol’s motion to dismiss the case was purely procedural as to whether the court had jurisdiction to hear the case.

“We expect and hope CBD can go beyond this technical filing to properly review the evidence and seek justice on these important constitutional and legal issues related to federal property seizure that have far-reaching implications lots of people and businesses have. “Terpening said.

The US Attorney’s Office Charlotte, which represents CBP, declined to comment, according to spokeswoman Lia Bantavani.