Three truck drivers who were arrested for hauling industrial grade hemp through Idaho are likely to take a plea deal that would have them serving no jail time, according to a report in the Idaho Press.
Andrew D’Addario and Erich Eisenhart originally faced felony charges of marijuana trafficking after they were arrested transporting hemp from Colorado to Oregon, two states where hemp is legal. A third truck driver, Denis Palamarchuk was also arrested earlier this year for making the same trip in reverse.
Unfortunately for them, Idaho has much stricter laws that still consider hemp, which contains a small amount of THC, equivalent to an illegal drug. When the men submitted to inspections at the port of entry in Idaho and their cargo was “discovered,” they were arrested.
If the men had been convicted of trafficking marijuana, they would have faced a mandatory sentence of at least five years in prison. However, the defendants had argued that the men thought that the cargo they were hauling was legal, as it was in the state of origin and destination. Ada County prosecutors have offered a new plea agreement for the truckers that would allow them to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession, a charge that will lighten their sentence to time served with an additional unsupervised probation period.
The issue is that while Congress passed legislation in 2018 that recognized industrial hemp as a commodity crop that can be transported across state lines, some states, like Idaho, still have laws that treat hemp as an illegal drug. Read more about that in our previous coverage of the case.
The Idaho Legislature reportedly tried to legalize hemp in a recent session but was unsuccessful so for the time being, hemp drivers may still have to consider alternate routes.