The Minnesota hemp farmer who is suing the state over a cease and desist order has been charged with two felonies and one gross misdemeanor after his seized crops tested 10 times higher for THC than the legal limits for hemp, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports.
Luis Hummel, owner of 5th Sun Gardens is charged with drug sale and two counts of drug possession in Fillmore County. The criminal charges stem from a traffic stop, during which a county sheriff’s deputy seized hemp-derived products from the driver who indicated they were from Hummel’s farm.
According to the criminal complaint outlined by the Pioneer Press, the driver told the deputy that the products were illegal. The complaint also alleges that Hummel told authorities that he tries to make his hemp products more like cannabis products to “entice the buyer” and that THC levels in his hemp products go up when they are concentrated.
Hummel received the cease and desist letter on May 1 informing him that he was being removed from the state’s industrial hemp pilot program and his license had been revoked for a year. The letter also ordered him to destroy his entire crop. Hummel contended that the individual stopped was not charged with possession and the letter was premature because the products had not violated tests for high levels of THC.
Paul Johnson, president of the Minnesota Hemp Farmers and Manufacturers Association, said Hummel’s crop had tested within the 0.3 percent threshold for hemp when it was evaluated by state regulators. He said the case underscores the need for more specific regulations regarding hemp production, noting that THC levels often rise when hemp is concentrated.
“My concern is that again, it shows how the regulation is not contemporaneous with what is really happening.” – Johnson, to the Pioneer Press
Hummel’s lawsuit against the state argues that the cease and desist and order to destroy the crop violated his due process rights. Hummel had estimated his business is worth $3.5 million.