Hester Burkhalter, Grandmother Arrested At Walt Disney World For CBD Oil, To Sue


A North Carolina woman who was arrested at Walt Disney World for possessing CBD oil, which is illegal in Florida, plans to sue both the theme park and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orlando’s WESH-TV reports.

As reported at the time by The Inquisitr, last week Hester Burkhalter was attempting to get through security at the Florida theme park when an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy noticed that she was carrying CBD oil.

CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant, just like THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana. Unlike THC, however, CBD does not typically produce a high in users. Instead, users say it provides relief from pain and inflammation. Also unlike THC, which is illegal under federal law, CBD oil is not illegal federally. However, states have their own laws regarding the product.

It’s illegal in the Sunshine State, and even though Burkhalter had a note from her doctor saying that she used the medication to treat her arthritis, the decision was made to place her under arrest. She was taken to jail, where she was held for 12 hours before making bail. The charges against her were later dropped.

Despite a public outcry, Cap. Carlos Torres of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said that his deputy was simply following the law, and doing his job.

Now, Burkhalter is suing. Specifically, she’s accusing both the Florida resort and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department of “illegal detention, false arrest and a violation of her civil rights when she tried to enter Disney World with her family carrying a small bottle of CBD oil in her purse recommended by her doctor for chronic arthritis pain.”

In a statement made available via Orlando’s WKMG-TV, Burkhalter’s attorney, Michele Rayner, said that his client expected better treatment from The Happiest Place On Earth.

“Her family’s dream vacation will always be remembered as a nightmare complete with 12 hours detained in jail after this false arrest. We expect better from Walt Disney World.”

It remains unclear, as of this writing, what sort of damages Ms. Burkhalter is seeking. Rayner has said that a public apology, at the very least, is in order.

Though CBD oil remains illegal in Florida while a bill to legalize it works its way through the legislature, it’s sold openly in head shops all across the state, reports Orlando’s WOFL-TV. For example, Tampa’s The Smoke Bodega advertises openly — on its website — that CBD oil is available for purchase in the store.