Plaintiffs in Hemp Seizure Case File Third and Final Amended Complaint

Plaintiffs in a California Eastern District Court case alleging illegal seizure of hemp filed a third amended complaint against the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, the county counsel, and county sheriff on Tuesday. The defendants allegedly violated the plaintiffs’ first, fourth, and fourteenth amendment rights by taking their ability to conduct scientific research, participating in “unreasonable search and seizure,” and not following the due process.

Free Spirit Organics, NAC (FSO); Winnemucca Shoshoni, MBS; Cannabis Science, Inc.; HRM Farms, Inc.; and American States University claimed the board of supervisors held a “secret meeting,” which targeted the plaintiffs’ hemp operations and “impermissibly re-defined” hemp and “Established Agricultural Research Organization” to allow them to seize the crop because the defendants found California’s Hemp Act’s definitions to be too vague.

In early July, the complaint from S.G. Farms, another petitioner, was dismissed because the company did not show it had an “enforceable interest” in the case. In the same order, the judge granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss but allowed the remaining plaintiffs “one final opportunity” to amend their complaint within the next 21 days. Judge Kimberly Mueller determined that the previous complaint did not “satisfy Rule 8’s well-played complaint standard” and some defendants were entitled to immunity. 

In the complaint filed on Wednesday, the plaintiffs asked for the seized hemp to be returned or paid for along with a declaration that the seizure of the hemp was unlawful and the search warrant is void. They also sought a preliminary and permanent injunction. The hemp field in question is owned by a Native American owned company, Free Spirit Organics, which works with the university and other plaintiffs to participate in agricultural research.

The Law Offices of Joseph Salama, Richard Glenn Elie, and The Law Office of Ronda Baldwin-Kennedy represent the plaintiffs. The defendants are represented by Cole Huber.