A South Carolina farmer filed a lawsuit against the state over the destruction of his hemp crop in 2019.
The lawsuit, filed by John Trenton Pendarvis on September 16, claims that three state agencies (the South Carolina Department of Law Enforcement, the Department of Agriculture, and the Office of the Attorney General) have “destroyed his I have refused all due process.” Unreported hemp harvest upon inspection of his property in Dorchester County on July 30, 2019.” According to Associated Press.
The Associated Press reports In its complaint, Pendarvis alleges that it “submitted an amended application stating that a severe drought had forced the crop to be relocated,” but that “the Department of Agriculture’s Consumer Protection Division Vice Chairman Derek Underwood said the farmer’s oversight was a “willful violation” of the state’s hemp farming program and “then began seeking approval to destroy the crop”.
Pendarvis was the first person to be indicted under South Carolina’s laws governing hemp cultivation.
A 2019 law requires farmers to “report the coordinates of their cannabis crops to the South Carolina Department of Agriculture” and prohibits “cultivating such plants.” [exceed] Federal THC limit.
The Pendarvis case highlights the lack of clarity in the law and confusion about how it should be enforced.
The Associated Press details the background to the incident:
“After failing to get a local judge to sign their seizure and destruction order, [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] Agents obtained an arrest warrant for Pendarvis from another magistrate without detailing any intention to destroy the crops. Emails shared with the complaint show that his attorney took this step even though the original judge had offered to hold a hearing on the matter. [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division]General Counsel Adam Wisett declined. Afterwards, the Attorney General’s office staff modified their guidance to [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division]They concluded that a hemp farming participation agreement that allowed the destruction of crops grown in unlicensed areas amounted to the “effective consent” necessary to carry out their plans. ”
He last year “in Dorchester County told the South Carolina Agriculture Commission, the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, and the South Carolina Department of Law Enforcement that his arrest and crop destruction were illegal.” filed another lawsuit. according to situation newspaper.
The complaint included “wrongful arrest, assault and assault, abuse of process, defamation and allegations of negligence.” newspaper reported.
When Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp production became legal at the federal level, prompting every state in the country to enter the new “cash crop.”
But despite its own hemp laws, South Carolina continues to take a tough stance on cannabis and is one of the last states not to legalize medical marijuana.
A group of lawmakers there tried to change that in Congress this year.
The state Senate approved a medical marijuana bill in February, but the bill was defeated by the state House of Representatives in May.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator Tom Davis, has supported medical marijuana treatment in the state for years.
“If you knock on the door long enough. “The people of South Carolina deserve to know what their elected officials stand on this issue.”
After the state senator was confirmed by the House, he applauded his colleagues.
“Even those who were against the bill could have been against it. They could have lashed out at it or tried to slow things down. They didn’t, they expressed their concerns, but then what they did was dig in and try to improve the bill. It should be done,” Davis said at the time.