Last week we shared the story with you about 69-year-old Hester Burkhalter, a great-grandmother from North Carolina, who arrived at the gates of Walt Disney World- to have the trip of a lifetime with her family- only to be arrested for possession of CBD oil. Thankfully, this week prosecutors in Florida dropped the drug charge against her. (Court records show she had pleaded not guilty.1)
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Burkhalter had a doctor’s note saying it was prescribed for her arthritis (and given that CBD oil is extracted from the flowers of the cannabis plants and doesn’t produce a high, her arrest seems ridiculous) but she was arrested anyway.
And now, she is suing Disney and the Orange County Sheriff’s office.
“Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Burkhalter, said she was in jail for about 12 hours before she posted bail. The charges against her were later dropped.
Crump said he has filed a motion Tuesday notifying Walt Disney World and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office of the intent to sue.
Crump said the lawsuit will claim illegal detainment, false imprisonment and defamation of character and violation of civil rights against the Sheriff’s Office.”2
As you might remember, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said:
“This was a lawful arrest, as possession of CBD oil is currently a felony under Florida State Statute and Deputies are responsible for enforcing Florida law and Orange County ordinances. Although CBD oil is illegal without a prescription, our top drug enforcement priority and focus at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office is to get deadly drugs, like heroin and fentanyl, off the streets of our community.”3
We will update you when the suit goes to trial.