Federal judge dismisses Oregon hemp producer’s lawsuit

A federal judge last week dismissed an Oregon hemp producer’s lawsuit claiming that Josephine County officials seized and destroyed legal hemp worth $2.5 million after mistaking it for marijuana.

However, the judge dismissed the case without prejudice, leaving Oregonized Hemp Co., a hemp farm and farm service contracting business based in Grants Pass, and owner Justin Pitts free to file a new complaint against Josephine County, Oregon.

The original lawsuit claimed that a two-county police search in April 2020 at a greenhouse leased by the business in Williams, Oregon violated civil rights and due process, Capital Press reported.

State agriculture officials said the product seized was marijuana, not hemp, and the warrant used to raid the company stated that the company’s greenhouse was not licensed for hemp or marijuana production.

But Oregonized Hemp Co. said that it had informed ODA that it would temporarily transfer hemp to the greenhouse months prior to the raid.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane dismissed the lawsuit at Josephine County’s request, ruling that the company’s claims that its constitutional rights were “shaky at best,” and that the warrants were still valid.