Bygone Drug Enforcement Field Testing Impacts Texas Entrepreneur

Texas H.B. 1325 immediately went into effect June 10, 2019, legalizing CBD products containing hints (0.3 or below) of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. However, field tests and crime labs in legalized states across the country struggle to keep up with policy.

Zachary Miller, co-founder of Texas Remedy Hemp, was asleep in the car on his way back to Texas from a Miami expo after educating folks about the benefits of oils and cigars made from hemp. While his business partner drove through the Florida panhandle, Zach’s nap was cut short when his partner said they were being pulled over.

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Help Zach Defend CBD!

Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies started to search the car but Miller didn’t think he had anything to worry about. His products, he said, contained CBD — the compound found in hemp and marijuana that doesn’t get you high and was declared legal under a federal hemp bill passed late last year.

But when deputies tested some of it, the results showed the presence of THC — the stuff that gets you high and is illegal in Florida unless recommended by a doctor for medical use.

By Kathryn Varn
Published July 12

Miller now faces two felony charges in Florida. His experience shines a light on America’s number one arrest offense and how drug enforcement technology is being left behind federal and state legalization.

“The reason why I got arrested was lack of technology from law enforcement and that needs to be addressed nationwide, that’s the bottom line.”

Current field testing is like a pregnancy test. For a few dollars it gives you the short answer, yes it’s cannabis or no it’s not. On the other hand, you need an expensive ultrasound to determine if its a boy (Hemp) or a girl (Marijuana). This is the gray area where traditional equipment fails drug enforcement and ensues collateral consequences.

Zachary Miller gives advice for other entrepreneurs

In the United States as of 2017, 11% of cannabis industry workers reported that they’ve been arrested for cannabis-related offenses.

While time in jail might be the most serious penalty, let us not forget how collateral consequences of a felony conviction can cause challenges for the rest of someone’s life. For example:

  • Pay an onerous fine upwards of $25,000
  • Damages a person’s reputation
  • Loss of family rights
  • Suspension or revocation of professional licenses

To help Zach with legal fees and spread awareness, Donate Here!

Help Zach Defend CBD!

“The impact itself is just a lot of stress. The biggest thing is with my daughter’s custody hearing, and in the end just the fact that I could be labeled a felon the rest of my life for something that is harmless. It weighs a lot.” Miller goes on, “It’s a lot monetarily. There’s bail, paying for the tow and lawyer expenses”.

The Sentencing Project reported in 2004, 52% of people in state prisons and 63% in federal prisons were parents of minor children, and incarcerated fathers (744,200) out number incarcerated mothers (65,600).

On March 18, 2019, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill permitting smokable forms of medical marijuana,  voiding Amendment 2’s ban on the same. Miller’s arrest on July 27th happened one day after the governor signed SB 1020: State Hemp Program into law. The bill went into effect on July 1, 2019, just four days after his arrest.

Despite having the appropriate documentation and licenses required in federal and state bills, Miller described his arrest as “traumatic after being thrown into a county jail with people who are tweaking and murderers. I had to be strip-searched, LED searched, and DNA swabbed.” However, “the jailers were laughing that I was even in there for CBD. ” says Miller. 

“The public defender that was assigned to me has basically already convicted me. She’s argued with me, hung up on me, and told me I wasn’t important to her.”

Zach’s passion for helping people and the relationships he’s built in the industry has lead to support from local cannabis community organizations such as Cannabis Open Carry Walks, Texas Cannabis Collective, Texas Cannabis Business Alliance and Cann I Work. American Shaman has even set up a fundraiser to help with his legal expenses. The overwhelming response has humbled Miller, “I feel awkward even accepting it, I just wanted to cry”.

To help Zach with legal fees and spread awareness, Donate Here!

Help Zach Defend CBD!

The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch reports every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for personal use drug possession. That to say, it’s the equivalent of the population of Dallas, TX being arrested every year. The 2016 report goes on to note there are 137,000 people behind bars (48,000 in prisons and 89,000 in jails) across the country daily. Add to that thousands more who are convicted, cycled through facilities, and spend prolonged time on probation and parole.

The immediate passing of TX H.B. 1325 caused some confusion for prosecutors and prompt several counties in Texas to drop marijuana charges. Yet Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot wasn’t moved by the bill responding, “Our office will not charge a person with a marijuana offense without a laboratory report stating that the substance has an illegal concentration of THC.” Annually, Texas averages anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 arrests for marijuana possession. 

Miller’s case is just one of many nationwide but he believes, “all of them need to be used as a catalyst, to get awareness out there not only for medical information, but also the fact that the reason why I got arrested was lack of technology from law enforcement and that’s the bottom line”.

His advocacy for legalization and ending prohibition continues with no sign of slowing down.

“[It] just needs to end because it’s destroying people’s lives and has been separating people’s families for far too long when they could really bring people together. “

Follow Zach Miller & Texas Remedy Hemp!

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