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Idaho judge orders Colorado company to forfeit shipment that was seized as marijuana

A year after Big Sky Scientific had their shipment seized by Idaho State Police, they maintain it is simply hemp and they can prove it.

BOISE, Idaho — Exactly a year ago we brought you a story about the biggest marijuana bust in state history.

The Idaho State Police reported seizing over 6,700 pounds of marijuana after they stopped a semi-truck on Interstate 84 between Mountain Home and Boise.

One problem, a year later, a Colorado company maintains that what ISP took, was hemp, not marijuana. 

That company, Big Sky Scientific, says they can even prove it is hemp.

Now a year later, a judge has decided the fate of the shipment.

Elijah Watkins represents Big Sky Scientific; he explains the company has not been allowed to evaluate their product since it was taken.

"At the time it was valued at about $1.3 million, today we don't know what it's valued at because the state won't let us inspect it," Watkins explained.

For exactly one year, there's been debate about what was in the semi-truck.

Is it hemp? Is it marijuana? 

Technically in the state of Idaho, it doesn't matter.

Any cannabis plant with any amount of THC is considered marijuana under Idaho law.

An Ada County judge has now ruled, saying all of the product seized needs to be forfeited to state police.

"So Judge Medema found in favor of the Idaho State Police, he found that the term hemp and marijuana and cannabis are ambiguous or vague terms and so he wasn't able to determine what was actually in the truck," Watkins said. 

Under the 2018 federal Farm Bill, Watkins says interstate transport of hemp should be allowed if the hemp was .3% or less THC. Big Sky Scientific has maintained their shipment was, and sent KTVB reports showing the hemp product that was seized, was well below the .3% THC mark.

"Our position has always been that federal law trumps state law. Even if Idaho disagrees with a certain product, and they don't let that product to be sold or produced in the state, you have to allow it to be shipped through the state,” Watkins said.

Because hemp is considered marijuana in Idaho, Watkins says he knows for a fact that companies are avoiding traveling with shipments of hemp through Idaho.

"That means they are not stopping at our gas stations, they are not staying in our hotels, they are not eating at our restaurants, they are not using our infrastructure because of the position that Idaho has taken," Watkins said.

In November, Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order that changed Idaho's rules to allow interstate transport of hemp in accordance with federal law.

It did not legalize hemp, but did allow for companies to transport through Idaho in accordance with the 2018 Farm Bill.

The executive order only applied to shipments brought through the state on and after October 31, 2019, so Big Sky's product isn't included.

"From a business standpoint, it's frustrating to industry when they are trying to comply with the law, trying to do the right thing, and it seems they can't do business in the state of Idaho, clearly that's not what Gov. Little wants," Watkins said.

So, where does the case go from here? Likely the Idaho Supreme Court.

"Big Sky is looking to appeal Judge Medema's opinion," Watkins said.

RELATED: Judge: CBD company must forfeit hemp shipment to Idaho State Police

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