California hemp grower wants sheriff to tell court why plants were burned

A California hemp growing company is trying to legally compel a sheriff’s department to release documents explaining why the agency destroyed 459 acres of hemp that authorities thought were marijuana.

No one was arrested or charged after the Kern County Sheriff’s Office bulldozed what Apothio LLC claims were hundreds of millions worth of hemp plants on Oct. 25, The Bakersfield Californian reported. The sheriff’s office has said the plants’ THC plants exceeded the federal limit of 0.3 % for hemp.

Apothio’s lawyers argue it’s irrelevant if the plants were marijuana. That’s because the company has a special federal exemption as an agricultural research organization.

A judge set an April 20 hearing on a motion to compel the sheriff’s office to release the search warrant information, which would include details for why authorities suspected marijuana and why the plants were destroyed.