Hemp farming is big business in southern Oregon. The investment needed to successfully plant, grow, harvest, and sell a hemp crop is substantial—in terms of both time money. Risks like drought, fire, pests, theft, and depressed prices add up to a business environment not for the faint of heart. Compounding these stressors are the risks that a hemp crop may not pass testing and that law enforcement seizes and destroys your hemp.
What recourse does a hemp business have if law enforcement wrongfully seizes and destroys its hemp because law enforcement (wrongly) believes hemp is marijuana?
The answer, unfortunately, is that suing the government and its officials to recover the value of hemp wrongfully seized and destroyed is no easy task. At the end of last year, we wrote about a case pending in a California federal court in which a hemp company sued the DEA, San Diego County, individual law enforcement personnel, and others for the wrongful seizure and destruction of a legal $3 million hemp grow. Several of the defendants moved to dismiss the lawsuit against them on the ground of qualified immunity; the court has yet to rule.
Meanwhile, just last week here in Oregon, the federal