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Hester Burkhalter, 69 arrested at Disney World for Carrying 1-ounce of CBD oil – Florida law for cannabis legalization remains a grey area

Burkhalter Arrested

A great grandmother who wished for a dream ride on her fairy tale trip to the fun land, tipped off into the fall. Hester Burkhalter, a citizen of Tennessee was arrested while on her way to the Magic Kingdom last month after an Orange Country Sheriff’s Office Deputy discovered CBD oil in her purse at one of the check points.

Burkhalter told a Fox News affiliate in Orlando how she had been planning out this trip since two years, but instead of a boat ride into a small world, she took a long ride to the Orange County Jail. She was arrested on April 15, and charged with possession of hashish, a felony. Burkhalter, 69 spent about 12 hours in the Orange jail and was trespassed from Disney property before being released from the jail with a $2,000 bail. However, the charges were later dropped.

She tried to explain the police officials how she suffers from severe arthritis in her legs, arms and in her shoulder which is why she carries the CBD oil along with her almost everywhere. She stated how the drug had been helping her and relieving pain. She also produced the original medical prescription which clearly recommended her to use CBD oil, however, the police officials were too stringent on their policies to assimilate what the lady had been explaining.

According to the police report, Burkhalter was stopped at a bag check while trying to enter into the Magic Kingdom at around 11:30 A.M. on April 15. One of the security personnel found a 1-ounce bottle labelled as Select CBD which stated it contained 0% THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana plants that is responsible for people to get ‘high’ when they smoke weed or pot.

While THC is allowed in CBD infused products up to 0.3% concentration by the federal law, several states continue to protest and prohibit using CBD based products (even with a 0% THC). CBD products were legalized under the Farm Bill in December 2018, it was removed from the list of Controlled Substance Act and thus, made legal with a regulated amount of THC. The contrasting policies of the federal law and the individual state laws are confusing not just people looking out for the product but companies and research institutions as well.

Cannabis was banned earlier, it was linked with major stigmatic and controversial cases which prohibited anyone from researching, growing or analyzing the substance. But, with the federal law legalizing medical marijuana, new pathways have opened up for researchers, analysts, doctors and companies to study the product in-depth.

CBD is basically a hemp derived substance which has non-psychoactive properties, which means it does not alter the state of mind and thus, does not produce any ‘high’ or ‘trips’ when consumed. It is an anti-inflammatory compound which is used to reduce pain, stress, anxiety, inflammation, swelling and treat seizures, epilepsy, cancer and even Alzheimer’s.

Many states have aligned with the federal law, legalizing cannabidiol to make it easily accessible for users, especially patients who are suffering from ailments. CBD has helped ample of people in getting back their normal lives after just a few days of use. Till now, there are no registered cases against it or about its side effects. Nonetheless, it is advisable to seek medical consultation before using the drug, especially if you are on a medical prescription already.

As for Burkhalter’s arrest, the report also said that the security officer notified a nearby deputy who tested the oil and it came back positive for THC. With this, she was arrested and trespassed from the property. CBD has been in a grey area in Florida law, but it is definitely rare to see someone getting arrested for it.

Contrary to Florida, one can take CBD bong hits and do yoga and CBD is sold openly on the front shelves of the market in the form of cream, liquids and edibles throughout the state of Tampa, despite of the fact that it is not completely legal.


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Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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