IDXHemp (copy)

In this file photo, a hemp plant is pollinated at the Unique Botanicals facility in Springfield, Ore. A shipment of hemp from an Oregon company arrived in Boise by mail May 29; after a police investigation, the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office declined to press charges against the business, citing a lack of jurisdiction.

After a shipment of hemp arrived in Boise months ago through the mail en route elsewhere, prosecutors in Ada County declined to press charges against the Oregon business that sent it, writes Idaho Press reporter Tommy Simmons. It’s another example of the complications created by the fact that while hemp is legal at the federal level, and in every state surrounding Idaho, the substance is still illegal within the state boundaries.

The incident began May 29, when Boise police responded to a shipping facility after receiving a call about 17 boxes containing 69 pounds of suspected marijuana, according to Haley Williams, department spokeswoman. As first reported by CBS 2News, police took the boxes into custody, and they were tested for the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The chemical is also present in industrial hemp — legalized on the federal level under the 2018 Farm Bill — although THC content must be 0.3 percent or less for the substance to be considered hemp.

Although early tests showed the substance in the shipment to Boise was “marijuana or resins thereof,” later tests determined it met the federal definition of hemp, according to Williams. By Idaho law, though, any substance containing THC is illegal, and considered marijuana.

An Ontario, Oregon, business had sent the packages, bound for multiple other states, according to Williams, and the sender never intended them to pass through Idaho.

Prosecutors declined to press charges. "Although a crime may have been committed in another state, it was not committed in Idaho,” Bethany Calley, spokeswoman for the Ada County prosecutor's office, wrote in an email to the Idaho Press.

You can read Simmons' full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up today's edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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