Great-Grandmother Who Spent 12 Hours In Jail For Bringing CBD Oil To Disney World Will Sue [Updated]

Update, May 14, 2019: Some of you likely saw this coming. Civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump and co-counsel Michele Rayner announced today they plan to sue Disney World, Orange County, and the Orange County Sheriff's Department for arresting their client Hester Burkhalter in April. The notice of intent to sue will allege illegal detention, false arrest, and a violation of Burkhalter's civil rights.


Original story, May 8, 2019: Grandparents are riding the CBD wave, too, in particular, one North Carolina great-grandmother whose doctor suggested CBD oil for her arthritis pain. But when that grandmother, 69-year-old Hester Jordan Burkhalter, tried to bring her CBD oil into Disney World, sheriff's deputies stopped her during a bag check outside Magic Kingdom and arrested her. Fox-35 Orlando reports Burkhalter spent 12 hours in jail on a felony charge that she was in possession of hashish, though the charges were later dropped.

Burkhalter says she was in possession of a doctor's note and that the CBD oil contained no THC—the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces a high—but Orange County Sheriff's authorities still detained her until she posted $2,000 bond. Police reports obtained by Fox-35 show a police officer tested the oil, and it did test positive for THC.


The sheriff's office maintains the deputy was just doing his job; any form of CBD is illegal in Florida unless a person possesses a prescription. Burkhalter's lawyer says CBD is a murky gray area, as CBD is sold in stores and leads people to assume it's legal.

Despite CBD's inclusion in oils, gummies, candy, and burgers, the U.S. Food And Drug Administration has not approved it for general use in food. A public meeting is scheduled for May 31 to solicit comments and hear feedback on the FDA's regulation of cannabis-derived compounds. Until the FDA rules, expect confusion over CBD's legality in certain products to persist.