Amanda Furstonberg is the victim of a severe car accident which crushed her left foot back in February 2017 and left her with lingering fear and shooting pain. When normal medications couldn’t bring any positive result, she decided to try out smoking of hemp flower following a friend’s recommendation. Amada recalls her experience with this legal form of cannabis devoid of the psychedelic kick which she smoked from a pipe at her Four Oaks apartment.
Things were going pretty smooth and she even cut down on her prescription pain medicines as hemp made her feel relaxed without causing any high. “It helped me tremendously. I barely took the pain pills that they were prescribing me. It helped me sleep. It helped with the PTSD, the anxiety. I couldn’t function correctly and the hemp flower and the CBD helped,” said Amanda. But in April, she received an uninvited visitor in the form of local police.
The 32-year-old mom was charged by officers from Johnston County with misdemeanors arising out of possessing both marijuana as well as drug paraphernalia. A court date has also been set for her in June. Furstonberg frantically tried to explain to the police authorities who were searching for her apartment that smoking hemp is legally different from that of marijuana.
She recalled the whole incident by stating that, “The cops literally came to the window and said, ‘Where’s the weed?’ And I said, ‘I don’t have weed I have CBD.’ They said, ‘We don’t believe you, so either we’re going to come in or we’re going to get a warrant and it’s going to be worse on you.”
Amanda allowed the police inside her house and showed the glass jars of hemp. She also tried to educate them about the 2018 Farm Bill wherein CBD was given the legal standing provided it was curated out of hemp and contained less than 0.03% THC which is the main compound causing psychological effects.
Furstonberg, who resides with her 9-year-old daughter further added that “They did not care. They told me I could print it off the internet and that I was lying and that he was trained and that it was marijuana.”
Confusion Over Products
About 10 stores selling hemp and CBD have added up to the confusion level of prosecutors and police who are finding it extremely difficult to differentiate the same from legal cannabis. CBD is available in the form of cream, gummy bears and oil drops. However, hemp flowers look similar to dried oregano and smell similar to college dorm on being burnt. Raleigh attorney John Fanney revealed that “It looks like marijuana, it smells like marijuana, but it’s not marijuana.”
Possible Outcome Of The Case
John Fanny, a Raleigh criminal defense lawyer pointed out that, “I’m not coming down on law enforcement. They are in a tough position. Marijuana is illegal, so they’re tasked with enforcing those laws they see someone like Amanda who has something that looks and smells like marijuana, what do they do? The only way to deal with that effectively for them is education, maybe a change in policy and ultimately a change in the law.”
This is the third case of a similar kind which shall be handled by Fanny. Previously he was able to relieve his client of all charges by bringing the CBD products to the district attorney. He further added that “Look at this, how can you distinguish the difference between marijuana and not marijuana? They looked at the packaging, talked with us for a few minutes and then they dismissed the case,”
Garner police had dealt with cases like this previously. But they are not ready to admit their inability of distinguishing between the two. Fanny pointed out that, “The only way to absolutely tell the difference between a CBD flower and a THC flower is to send it off to a lab and to have a fairly expensive test done to determine the amount of THC that is in the product. It can be done, but it’s very expensive, it’s time-consuming and it uses a lot of state resources.”
Fanny is keeping high hopes about the court dropping all charges from his client. However, he feels it is imperative for people to be cautious about the products they are using and carry the original packaging to get them out of such a sticky situation