Florida and Texas Will Jail You for CBD

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” stands true for all  liberties, and that includes what we put into our bodies. So we kick off this week with a story that serves as a reminder of two truths:

Despite the passage of the Farm Bill, CBD is NOT welcome everywhere, and can even land you in jail. Also, Florida and Dallas are both awful places in regard to viewpoints on cannabis. Sorry if you live there, and sorry if you have great childhood memories growing up there, but it’s true.

A timely reminder that Florida is the mouth-breather of the union was well captured in a recent piece in High Times, which looks at a very unhappy day at the Happiest Place on Earth for Hester Burkhalter, a 69-year-old great-grandmother who probably wishes she had just gone to Six Flags instead.

As Burkhalter was going through a Magic Kingdom checkpoint at Disney World on April 15, security guards who had no friends in high school and thus became security guards at the Magic Kingdom, found the most dire of threats to the safety of other park-goers: a bottle of CBD tincture. Ahhhh! Run, everyone, run away!

The bottle, which was neither brandishing a weapon nor making loud, drunken threats, was deemed a serious dangers by the security staff who found it, and moved them to call the Tampa Bay police.

These representatives of why Southern law enforcement is both mocked and feared took Burkhalter to jail, where she was locked up for 12 hours before being released on $2,000 bail. The charge? Possession of hashish.

The police tested Burkhalter’s oil, and found that it allegedly contained THC—or at least allegedly more THC than CBD products are legally allowed, 0.3 percent. So obviously, it must be hash, because as we all know, hash comes in tincture form, and is regularly used by senior citizens.

High Times reports,

“As per the Tampa Bay Times, the bottle of CBD oil Burkhalter was carrying that day was marked as containing zero THC,” and had been recommended by Hester’s doctor to deal with her health issues. “‘I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms, and in my shoulder,’ she told the media. ‘I use it for the pain because it helps.'”

A great-grandmother using CBD tincture to deal with arthritis? Sure, Stoner McHighface, stick with that story.

All charges were later dropped. Shocking.

All of this parallels with a story that serves as a reminder that you might want to reconsider what you bring into Dallas, if you have to go to Dallas, in which case I am sorry.

Dallas TV station NBC 5 reports that recent felony arrests of travelers found to be carrying CBD or hemp oil derivitives have “skyrocketed.”

“‘I would say a year ago it was almost non-existent,’ said Cleatus Hunt Jr., port director at the airport for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. ‘But in the last six months, the interception rate for that (CBD) has skyrocketed.'”

For those thinking, “But that doesn’t apply to me, right?”, think again. Hunt concluded: “Don’t do it. It simply isn’t worth it…. One single incident, one single small amount of CBD oil that you thought was cool to take on a trip with you, could result in life-changing affects for you.”

That’s right, kids. Maybe you think it would be “cool” to have some CBD, like the 71-year-old woman who was jailed on a felony charge after telling authorities the vial in her bag was CBD oil that she used for “medicinal pain” relief.

Not so fast, Grandma! Maybe you can share a cell with another recent arrestee, per NBC 5: “Another case involved a 22-year-old college student from Collin County who was caught after officers ‘conducting a random bag check … discovered a brown bottle labeled “hemp CBD.”‘”

NBC 5 spoke with someone who thinks this is bullshit (because it is). Attorney Jonathan Miller, who also represents one of the travelers arrested at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, said the federal farm bill signed into law last year makes it legal for people to transport CBD products made from hemp. “Federal law is very clear. And when a Customs official pulls someone over for this, he or she is acting in the wrong,” Miller said.

Not so fast, legal mouthpiece for drug lords! The Custom and Border Patrol—those heroes who arrest and cage babies, bless their cold, black hearts—have a different hot take, telling NBC 5, “CBD oil is considered a controlled substance under U.S. Federal law. ‘Travelers found in possession of controlled substances at U.S. ports of entry can face arrest, seizures, fines, penalties or denied entry,’ the spokesperson said.”

The lesson seems to be: If traveling to either Texas or Florida—even though both states have numerous shops where you can legally purchase CBD products—don’t tempt fate. Or at least don’t go through DFW or the Magic Kingdom with your CBD medicine. My advice? Avoid both states if at all possible.

Josh Taylor is a well-known and successful entrepreneur in the legal cannabis space, producing B2B and B2C cannabis events, "Backstage Budtending" and upscale concierge services through his companies OregonCannabisConcierge.com and CaliforniaCannabisConcierge.com. His weekly syndicated newspaper column and features about cannabis ran for five years until March 2020.

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