PRESTON, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota hemp farmer is facing charges after authorities claimed his products had more than the legal limit of the compound that makes users high.
Gordon Tindall has been a good friend of Luis Hummel for a long time - and says he is shocked there are any charges against him.
"He's a big part of the community with that mohawk haircut and those two big dogs," Tindall said. "He's one of ours."
As a supporter of Hummel's, Tindall wants his friend to be able to move on from this controversy.
"We just want to see this get behind him, let him get back to doing what he's doing," Tindall said.
But it doesn't look look like that will be happening anytime soon, according to Fillmore County Attorney Brett Corson.
"What happens now is that since Mr. Hummel was served with the complaint, he will have his first appearance coming up," Brett Corson said.
Corson says the county is more concerned about the charges - not Hummel's business.
"That's our focus is the criminal charges," Corson said. "We don't focus on his business."
Hummel's attorney, Jason Tarasek tells KIMT his client is trying to meet the state standards.
"Luis is trying to comply with the law, this is a new area for everyone, for hemp growers, for CBD retailers, frankly for the state of Minnesota and for law enforcement," Tarasek said. "We're all trying to get this right."
Tarasek says he does not believe the criminal justice system was designed to go after hemp farmers.
"We contest the charges, I'm saying, the question as to whether Luis Hummel is a criminal," Tarasek said. "I would answer no."
Court documents say products from Luis Hummel's 5th Sun Gardens hemp farm in Lanesboro were sent to a lab for tests and found to have THC levels above 3 percent. The level for commercial hemp cannot exceed 0.3 percent.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press says Hummel has been charged with selling drugs and drug possession in Fillmore County. The charges come after Hummel sued state officials who revoked his growing license and ordered him to destroy his multimillion-dollar crop because of its THC levels. Unlike marijuana, industrial hemp only has tiny amounts of THC.
Hummel's attorney Jason Tarasek says it was a processing mistake that his client was trying to correct and the product tested wasn't in the marketplace.