For many, a trip to Disney World is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with some planning their trips years in advance. Sometimes, even a small change in plans—like a delayed flight or a thunderstorm—can result in a big loss when it comes to both money and fun.
For one great-grandmother, her trip to the most magical place on earth turned into a nightmare.
The 69-year-old woman from North Carolina was visiting Disney World when she was arrested after an Orange County Deputy discovered CBD oil in her purse. The great-grandmother, Hester Jordan Burkhalter, had been using CBD oil to treat arthritis on a recommendation from her doctor. She was even prepared with a note from her doctor in case of this very situation.
But despite the note, Burkhalter, who hasn’t had so much as a speeding ticket in her entire life, spent the next 12 hours behind bars before eventually being released on a $2,000 bond.
Burkhalter, who had been planning the trip to Disney World for two years, told Fox 35:
“I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms and in my shoulder. I use [CBD oil] for the pain because it helps.”
CBD oil is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid found in cannabis plants (or Cannabis sativa). It has been shown to aid users in the treatment of anxiety, arthritis, pain, depression, and more and is being used with increasingly frequency to relieve pain associated with both cancer and cancer treatment. And while it is sold in stores across Florida, it is technically illegal in the Sunshine State. Those requiring the use of CBD oil can, however, obtain it with a prescription.
Thankfully the charges against Burkhalter were dropped, but not before her arrest brought to light what Jennifer Synnamon, the great-grandmother’s attorney, explained to Fox 35:
“A little drop of oil, with the CBD, is a felony. Meanwhile, you can have up to 19.9 grams of leaf-marijuana, and it’s a first-degree misdemeanor.”
Of the case, Synnamon said:
“I’m very disappointed that the Orange County Sheriff’s Office handled the situation the way they did. Why Sheriff Mina would support his deputies using their resources for a CBD oil arrest of a 69-year-old woman, but then won’t do anything about the gas stations, health food stores, drug stores, etc. that are selling it to the open public is absolutely beyond my comprehension. The State of Florida finds nothing wrong with collecting the sales tax on illegal products, but they allow prosecution for possession of the same. I want to commend Aramis Ayala’s office for reviewing the case and swiftly determining that they would not prosecute.”
While the cannabis plant, including both hemp and marijuana, has made great strides in recent years, Burkhalter’s experience is yet another example of many where the law hasn’t yet caught up with what the science and anecdotal evidence is clearly telling us.