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Sentencing delayed for truckers accused of illegally hauling hemp

The decision reflected a joint agreement between the Ada County Prosecutor and attorneys for the truckers.

The sentencing date for two truckers accused of illegally transporting hemp in Idaho has been delayed until September 17. It was originally scheduled for today, June 25.

The decision to continue the hearing was a joint agreement between the office of the Ada County Prosecutor and the two attorneys for the truckers.

“The parties were concerned these cases would be viewed as precedent setting,” said Michael Bartlett, a lawyer for Erich Eisenhart, one of the truck drivers. “We were trying to get it right and for that we needed additional time.”

Eisenhart and Andrew D’Addario have been charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, a charge that carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, or a $15,000 fine.

The two men were transporting hemp plants from one licensed industrial hemp farm in Colorado to another farm in Oregon when they were arrested by Idaho State Police on April 12, 2018.

The state of Idaho does not distinguish between hemp and marijuana. Both are illegal under Idaho law, a state of affairs defense attorneys and an army of supporters maintain is not consistent with the science and policy developments related to hemp, which was legalized at the federal level last year.

“My client was transporting a non-intoxicant,” said Bartlett. “And there is a chasm between someone illegally transporting a drug for profit and someone transporting hemp. I believe the state is aware of that and is trying to treat these young men fairly.”

The Prosecutor’s office filed a document on June 24 outlining a “stipulation” to continue the hearing.

“In the absence of Idaho legislation setting forth a regulatory system that would provide a legal framework to allow the interstate transport of hemp, the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office has been diligently researching and working to develop a solution to avoid the recurrence of the issue facing law enforcement, prosecutors and those seeking to transport hemp in Idaho,” the document stated.

“Recognizing the above, the State and defense team are also in discussions about reaching an appropriate resolution in this case, while at the same time being mindful of finding an overall solution to this issue for Idaho.”

In a separate, high profile case, Oregon trucker Denis Palamarchuk is scheduled to go to trial for illegally transporting hemp in Idaho. His court date is set for October 2019.

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Linda Baker, Staff Writer

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves staff reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes early-stage VC, freight-tech, mobility and West Coast emissions regulations.

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