Ada County prosecutors are weighing their options when it comes to sentencing two men who claim they were hauling industrial hemp through the state.
Andrew D’Addario and Erich Eisenhart were arrested last year and charged with felony drug trafficking. Police say they were hauling marijuana – they say it was hemp, which was legalized late last year in the federal Farm Bill.
They were supposed to be sentenced this week after taking a plea deal, but in a new filing, prosecutors now say they want to find an “appropriate” resolution for the case.
“As this Court is well aware, although this case pre-dates the December 2018 Farm Bill, the parties recognize the outcome of this case will likely have an impact on how jurisdictions across Idaho will handle cases of this type …” prosecutors wrote.
“I’m very pleased,” said Rep. Dorothy Moon (R-Stanley).
“I hope that they do use discretion to where these men aren’t going to be used as the poster boys for not driving industrial hemp across the state when it’s pretty much legal everywhere,” she said.
Moon unsuccessfully tried to legalize hemp in Idaho last year, but faced heavy opposition from law enforcement lobbying groups.
In spite of the Farm Bill’s passage, Idaho State Police and Ada County Prosecutors issued a statement last month. Both agencies said they’re waiting for a regulatory to change before they consider hemp legal.
“As of this date, that system has not been developed in any state – including Idaho – and is therefore not currently in effect. As a consequence, hemp is not legal in Idaho,” the two agencies said in the statement.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a memo last month telling states they cannot block the interstate transportation of hemp. An Idaho State Police spokesman referred Boise State Public Radio back to their previous statement.
In this week’s filing, prosecutors say they’ve been trying to find an option to avoid these types of issues happening again for themselves and law enforcement.
Another man, Denis Palamarchuk, is also facing drug trafficking charges for hauling more than three tons of industrial hemp and could face a minimum of five years in prison. Palamarchuk has pleaded not guilty.
Sentencing for D'Addario and Eisenhart is now scheduled for September.
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