Great-grandmother arrested at Disney, jailed for doctor-recommended CBD oil sparks legal firestorm

A 69-year-old great-grandmother was recently arrested at the gates of Disney World in Florida for having CBD oil in her purse, in spite of having a letter from her doctor attesting to the fact that she needed it for her arthritis pain.

Hester Jordan Burkhalter had been using the oil since her doctor recommended it.

“I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms and in my shoulder,” said Burkhalter. “I use (CBD oil) for the pain because it helps.”

When she was stopped by security outside of the Magic Kingdom as she and her family were going through the bag-check process, she was arrested. She was in Orlando to visit the Disney parks with her family on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that had been planned for the past two years.

In a not-so-magical twist, the quiet-spoken grandmother ended up arrested with a felony charge and a 12-hour stay in jail before posting bail.

“I’ve never had but one speeding ticket in my life. I’ve never been in a jailhouse before,” she said.

Fox News reported:

Despite the fact that it’s sold on store shelves across the state, CBD oil is still technically illegal in the state of Florida (unless the user has a prescription). This has created a confusing situation in the Sunshine State.

Jennifer Synnamon, a Florida attorney, told 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.”

While the Orange County Sheriff’s Office told Fox 35 that their deputy was just following the law, the charges against Burkhalter were eventually dropped.

“I’m very disappointed that the Orange County Sheriff’s Office handled the situation the way they did,” Synnamon, Burkhalter’s lawyer, said. “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.”

Video by Fox 35

The Orange County Sheriff’s office sent the following statement to Fox News: “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. 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.”


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