ORLANDO, F.L. – A guest arrested at Walt Disney World last month after security found CBD oil in her purse is seeking an apology.
Hester Burkhalter, a 69-year-old great grandmother from North Carolina was detained for 15 hours after the CBD was found by Disney security personnel. Burkhalter says she takes CBD to relieve pain associated with arthritis and does so based on her physician’s recommendation.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said the bottle of CBD confiscated from Burkhalter tested positive for THC. However, it does not seem they revealed the specific amounts of THC included. Typically, products with 0.3 percent THC or less are not considered to be in the same category as cannabis as they do not produce a psychedelic effect.
“I was in shock,” Burkhalter told NBC News. “I don’t feel like I’ve done anything wrong at all.”
Buckhalter’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, the same attorney who represented Trayvon Martin’s family, said Buckhalter provided a note from her physician after the arrest. The note indicated the CBD she had was legal in North Carolina. Crump said the Orange County Sheriff’s Office needs “to take responsibility for their actions.” He threatened to file a lawsuit claiming Buckhalter’s civil rights were violated if they fail to do so.
CBD laws in Florida are stricter than some other states. CBD use is only permitted for those with a valid medicinal cannabis recommendation by an approved Florida physician.
Although the Orange County Sheriff’s Office maintains that the arrest was valid, prosecutors have dropped the narcotics charge against Buckhalter.
Florida may have new CBD regulations in place by July 1. A bill setting up a regulatory structure for CBD has been approved by state legislators but still awaits the signature of Governor Ron DeSantis. Though it is not known if DeSantis plans on signing the bill, he recently lifted a ban on smokeable cannabis flower for registered patients.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services warns consumers to be wary of CBD products. “CBD products being sold in Florida are unregulated, untested, and without standards on what consumers are putting into their bodies,” the department stated on its website.
It is unclear if Disney World Florida supports such flexing of legal muscle by local authorities. CBD has been linked with relieving many ailments including chronic pain and anxiety. One thing seems clear, the incident likely has cost them at least one customer, and possibly more as potential attendees with medical concerns may reconsider their vacation plans.
Many are looking to federal authorities to clear up mounting confusion about laws regarding CBD. A public hearing on CBD, hemp, and cannabis derivatives will be held on May 31. You can click here for additional details on the hearing.