A North Carolina woman is suing The Walt Disney Co. and the Orange County Sheriff’s office after she said she was wrongfully arrested for possession of cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil.
Attorney Ben Crump has filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of Hester Burkhalter, 69, and her family, CNN reported.
Crump told the network that Burkhalter, of Hickory, North Carolina, was “wrongfully arrested and taken into custody at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for possessing federally legal CBD oil” in 2019.
According to a complaint filed July 29, the named defendants “arrested and detained, processed as a narcotics felon and strip-searched a harmless, entirely blameless American great-grandmother, whose only ‘crime’ was her desire to lessen crippling osteoarthritic pain with a doctor-recommended hemp-based oil, while giving her family, including a disabled adult daughter and two adopted pre-teen children, an enjoyable vacation.”
“The disgraceful events that animate this lawsuit ‘pull back the curtain’ on the casual cruelty and unpardonable ineptitude that lie at Disney’s cold corporate heart,” the complaint continued.
The suit requests $6 million in compensatory damages and $12 million in punitive damages for Burkhalter, as well as millions of additional dollars for her family, CNN reported.
CBD oil is derived from industrial hemp, and contains little or no THC, the active drug found in marijuana, USA Today reported, noting the substance is legal in Florida.
Even after a field test revealed that Burkhalter’s CBD oil contained no THC, the sheriff’s deputy still charged her with felony narcotics possession, the newspaper reported.
“Adding insult to injury,” the complaint continues, “Disney took the gratuitous step of summarily ejecting Hester and her family from its facilities in perpetuity as ‘trespassers,’ thereby cementing the defamatory stigma and unmerited humiliation precipitated by defendants’ disgraceful conduct.”
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