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Kansas Hits Hemp Farmers With Felonies




Two Colorado brothers are facing felony drug charges in Kansas for hemp cultivation.

In 2017, Eric and Ryan Jensen, using FedEx, sent a shipment of hemp with official paperwork from the Colorado Department of Agriculture from Colorado to California to be extracted into CBD oil. Instead of going straight to California, the delivery truck stopped at a sorting facility in Kansas, where the shipment was confiscated after reports of a “strong odor of cannabis.” On Jan. 31 of this year, the brothers were charged with four drug-related crimes each, with three of them being felonies.

“It is now worthless for its intended purpose, which is the extraction of CBD oil,” said Eric Jensen’s attorney Van Hampton. “It was being shipped to California for extraction of CBD when the FedEx truck traveled east to Kansas instead of west to California and the 350-pound shipment was seized . . . The deterioration resulting from the two years of careless storage has ruined the value.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in May that in compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill, licensed growers are allowed to transport their hemp across state lines. Idaho State Police found themselves in a similar situation earlier this year when state troopers seized 7,000 pounds of hemp that they believed was cannabis.

The brothers could be cleared if testing on the product matches the paperwork that says the product is hemp below 0.3 percent THC, but the only lab capable of the test is owned by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, which has refused to take part in a criminal trial. Without the testing, the state of Kansas has no way to prove their charges, but the Jensen brothers have no way to prove their case.

The brothers previously grew cantaloupe near the Kansas-Colorado border, pleaded guilty in 2013 after causing a nationwide outbreak of Listeria that involved 33 deaths and 147 confirmed patients across 28 states.