NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The Lincoln County Court dismissed the case against a local health and fitness shop owner Jake Johanson. He was accused selling THC which is a derivative found in marijuana.
Elite Lifestyles storefront in North Platte. (SOURCE: KNOP-TV/Jace Barraclough)
Jake Johanson of Elite Lifestyles appeared in court this summer for his THC distribution charge, a class 2A felony.
Thursday, The County Attorney's Office decided to dismiss the case without prejudice meaning they can refile anytime in the next two and a half years.
Johanson was charged with possession of THC with intent to distribute. He was accused of selling CBD products with THC in them.
Johanson's attorney, Russ Jones, said the law changed in the middle of their case.
"Prior to July 1, the hemp exception did not exist now the hemp exception does exist with a percentage that then triggers a requirement of prosecutor to test to determine what THC level there is before if it was THC, it was THC, it was THC, now if it's less than 3% THC ,it's hemp so you've got to be able to quantify in order to prosecute, it is my position," said Jones.
Jones said he hasn't seen a case like this continue to prosecution.
"We don’t think he violated the law even pre-July 1," said Jones, "A District Judge in Sheridan County has agreed with that and Scottsbluff County had a case that was dismissed because of that so there’s never been a case that has gone through on a CBD type situation and been prosecuted successfully, that I know of, in the state of Nebraska."
Jones said because the courts dismissed the case 'without prejudice', they can refile against Mr. Johanson until the statute of limitations runs out. "Because there aren’t more types of testing coming, the ability to quantify is on the horizon and I think that’s why the county attorney dismissed without prejudice because if they want to refile against Mr. Johanson in the next two and half years they certainly can, whether or not they do it is one question and whether or not he would ever be convicted is another question."
He said the law changing has created some confusion. "The states just in flux right now trying to figure out what they’re going to do with the THC cases," said Jones, "The cases involving CBD, they’re having problems testing, quantifying the level of THC in substances and given that now they have an exception to the THC prosecution through the hemp exemption, now they have the hemp exception, in essence, it’s difficult for them to prove anything because they can’t quantify anything."
We have reached out to Johanson for his feelings after learning of the dismissal. He is waiting on the official paperwork from the courts and we plan to talk to him next week.