The Millard County Chronicle Progress reports on the travails of this unlucky hemp farmer…….A Fillmore hemp farmer was arrested Feb. 15 after he was pulled over by a Utah Highway Patrol trooper along Interstate 15 in Juab County.
Shane England was returning from the Utah Cannabis Fair in Salt Lake City, a hemp plant sat in his truck for the ride home.
England, who is the founder and president of the Great Basin Hemp and Farm Co-op, says he was just passing Nephi when he noticed he was driving somewhat drowsy. He pulled off the highway near Mills, parking just behind a state trooper. The officer quickly left, but England says he took a few minutes to relieve himself and take a breather.
He was about 30 minutes from home when he saw the trooper again, parked along the highway.
“Within half a mile there was the trooper on the side of the road. He hadn’t pulled anybody over,” England said. “And then he pulled up right behind me as I was going down the freeway and ghosted me for three or four miles at least. He pulled me over right before the Millard County line.”
The trooper allegedly pulled him over because his truck did not have any mud flaps.
“I said you’ve got to be kidding me. My mud flaps? This is a stock truck, the way it came from the dealership. I didn’t think I needed mud flaps. I’ve never had a truck with mud flaps before. He says, yeah, your mud flaps,” England says.
Later the trooper said UHP received reports of someone driving erratically. But that was just the beginning of the ordeal.
“Then, (the trooper asks) what is that smell in your car? I was like, oh great, this is going down hill quick,” England said.
The hemp farmer attempted to explain that he was at the cannabis fair for educational reasons and that he was licensed to grow and transport hemp, which differs from marijuana in that it has much lower levels of THC, the hallucinogenic component normally associated with the plant. The federal government legalized hemp farming nationwide with the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act.
The trooper wasn’t buying any of England’s protestations.
“So he put me through a field sobriety test for about 15 minutes out in the cold. I was freezing, my adrenaline was running. At the very end he was like, stop, you failed, you’re obviously under the influence,” England says.
In handcuffs, splayed against the hood of the UHP patrol car, England watched as the trooper searched his truck, finding the CBD oil vaporizers England had as well as assorted hemp paraphernalia acquired at the fair.
“He made me sit there while he searched my car. He came back and said I found your marijuana,” England said.
England was booked into the Juab County jail in Nephi on suspicion of DUI, his truck impounded, his hemp plant taken as evidence.
He was given a urine test when he was booked. When that test came back negative, the trooper asked England to take a blood test.
“He (a trooper trained in phlebotomy) ripped my arm up. I had to go get treated at a hospital because they totally ruptured my vein…I had blood dripping all over,” England said of the arrest-turned-tragicomedy.
After the blood test, England spent the night in the jail’s drunk tank. A local magistrate set bail and England’s wife eventually was able to bail him out that Sunday afternoon at a cost of $1,630.
When England went to try to retrieve his truck, he was told it was being seized—a state forfeiture as part of the drug charges likely coming his way.
Astonished, mystified, and angry, England starting contacting television news stations to share his story.
“It went all the way to Capitol Hill,” he said.