The oregon Mail Tribune reports
A federal judge has determined that the search warrant behind a Williams raid was lawfully served, dealing a major blow to a lawsuit filed by a Josephine County hemp grower who alleges that police in two counties seized and destroyed two tons of legal hemp rather than pot.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke acknowledged that Oregonized Hemp Co. LLC of Grants Pass and owner Justin Pitts are “understandably frustrated with the actions of law enforcement in this case,” but Clarke did not find any constitutional violations.
“If the allegations are true, plaintiffs (Pitts and Oregonized Hemp Co.) have suffered a large economic loss due to the destruction of their industrial hemp, which law enforcement misidentified as marijuana,” Clarke wrote in his findings filed Feb. 26, in U.S. District Court in Medford. “However, the court struggles to ascertain a constitutional violation in this case.”
Pitts filed his $2.5 million federal lawsuit against Josephine and Jackson counties and a Medford police detective alleging they each had a role in constitutional and civil rights violations surrounding an April 22 raid at a warehouse leased by the Grants Pass hemp company in the 1100 block of Panther Gulch Road, Williams.
Pitts’ allegations included claims that the warrant lacked a judge’s signature, and that law enforcement serving the warrant ignored employee protests that the plant material they were seizing was legal industrial hemp with THC concentrations at or below .03 percent.