Orlando, FL – A 69-year-old great-grandmother with arthritis was arrested at Disney World on April 15 when an deputy working security found the cannabis-based CBD oil in her purse at a checkpoint.
Hester Burkhalter was on a trip with her family that she had been planning for two years, according to Fox News.
The Orlando Weekly reported that CBD oil is sold on store shelves across Florida, although it's technically illegal.
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is being studied for treatment of anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain. It's not psyco-active, and contains little to no THC, so people can't get high off of it.
Burkhalter had hers in a glass bottle that contained peppermint CBD tincture, according to the Orlando Weekly.
Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Vernon Lebron was working off-duty for Magic Kingdom when he was notified by security personnel that someone was using illegal narcotics believed to be THC oil.
When Deputy Lebron asked if the bottled contained THC, Burkhalter refused to answer and said, “Is there a problem?” The bottle's contents field-tested positive for THC, according to the Orlando Weekly.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office told Fox News that the deputy was simply following the law.
"This was a lawful arrest, as possession of CBD oil is currently a felony under Florida State Statute and Deputies are responsible for enforcing Florida law and Orange County ordinances,” the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in statement released to Fox News. “Although CBD oil is illegal without a prescription, our top drug enforcement priority and focus at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office is to get deadly drugs, like heroin and fentanyl, off the streets of our community."
Burkhalter had a note from a medical professional in her purse at the time of her arrest, and said she uses the drug for pain relief.
“I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms and in my shoulder,” Burkhalter said, according to Fox News. “I use (CBD oil) for the pain because it helps. … I’ve never had one speeding ticket in my life.”
Products with CBD in them are being sold in Florida after a 2018 federal law legalized industrial hemp, according to the Orlando Weekly. However, CBD remains illegal in the state.
Charges against Burkhalter were dropped by the prosecutor, declaring the case unsuitable for prosecution.