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Santa Cruz County liable for $10M based on faulty hemp testing, new lawsuit alleges

SANTA CRUZ, CA, USA, February 17, 2021 / -- A lawsuit filed yesterday claims that Santa Cruz County Department of Agriculture incorrectly sampled the hemp crop belonging to Sungrown Organic Hemp, leading to a false determination that the crop was marijuana, ultimately delaying the harvest until the matter was cleared up and by then the crop was almost totally spoiled.

In fall of 2019, the first year legal hemp was farmed under California’s present regulatory scheme, the Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner visited the 15-acre Sungrown Organic Hemp farm and tested to make sure THC concentration was below 0.3%, testing to make sure it wasn’t legally classified as marijuana which would make harvesting it illegal, and require it to be destroyed.

“I told them they were testing it wrong” says Jordan Levy, principal of Sungrown Organic Hemp. “They didn’t listen, they botched the sampling, and then turned around and told me I can’t harvest it. They didn’t know what they were doing.”

That’s when Levy contacted Joseph Salama, Bay Area cannabis attorney. “By the time they went in and retested it correctly, peak harvest had passed and the moisture began to spoil the crop.” Said Salama. “Sungrown wasn’t about to harvest after the false positive, in direct violation of the law.”

Stuck between a false positive and a spoiling crop, Sungrown had no choice but to wait for Santa Cruz County Department of Agriculture to get its act together. According to the lawsuit, by the time Sungrown had been cleared to harvest, 90% of the flower was not usable and Sungrown lost millions.

It is possible that other Santa Cruz farmers had false positives that season, destroyed their crops, and didn’t know better. Fortunately Levy had become fluent in the new testing method adopted by California less than a year before.

Sungrown Organic Hemp is a California hemp farming business headquartered in Watsonville, California.

Law Offices of Joseph Salama is a boutique law firm in headquartered in Marin County, California.

Joseph Salama
Law Offices of Joseph Salama
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