Hemp company working to retrieve $500,000 of product seized by Oklahoma police

LOUISVILLE, Colo. –  The president of a medical-grade hemp company in Colorado is working with authorities in Oklahoma to get back a shipment of about 18,000 pounds of hemp that was seized by police.

The Daily Camera reports that Panacea Life Sciences President Jamie Baumgartner says the shipment is worth $500,000 and is not insured.

It all started when police in Pawhuska saw a semi-truck running a red light on Wednesday morning, and officers noticed a white van following closely behind the truck.

Authorities decided to pull the vehicle over and soon discovered at least 18,000 pounds of marijuana.

Investigators say the driver gave officers a bill of sale for hemp, but they say the document was vague.

Authorities say Farah Warsame, Tadesse Deneke, Andrew Ross and David Dirksen were arrested on allegations of aggravated trafficking.

Pawhuska Police Chief Rex Wikel says the department doesn’t know if it’s hemp or marijuana. The Osage County District Attorney’s Office contend that the the substances tested are marijuana, leaving them with probable cause to charge the four men.

Court documents filed on Tuesday show samples came back from the D.E.A.’s South Central Lab in Dallas. The samples went through four different tests and were identified as marijuana.

While both hemp and marijuana contain THC, hemp has a very low trace of THC- less than .03%. But the tests done at the Texas lab don't check for levels of THC.

“We don’t have a level yet. We’re still waiting on that. Unfortunately the lab that is going to do the levels is in Washington, D.C. and based upon the furloughs, we don’t have that back yet,” Keely said.

Baumgartner is trying to find out what documents he needs to get back his hemp. Baumgartner called the seizure a test case to provide clarity about the interstate transfer of hemp.

Baumgartner's company had ordered hemp from Kentucky that was being shipped to Colorado via Oklahoma. Baumgartner says the transportation company was avoiding traveling through Kansas and Nebraska under instructions from state transportation officials.

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