The historic lawsuit filed by a man prosecuted by Hawaii officials for possessing hemp bird seed is set to be heard in a Honolulu federal courtroom in early April.
Reverend Aaron Anderson, a Libertarian politician and hemp activist, was arrested a decade ago. His alleged crime: ordering DEA-approved sterilized low-THC, industrial hemp seeds.
Prosecutors in his crimial trial alleged that the sterilized seeds were capable of producing a $10 million cannabis cash crop.
During the trial, defense attorneys discovered that police and prosecutors, some of whom were sleeping together, targeted Anderson and another activist, Reverend Roger Christie, because the two men were outspoken hemp proponents.
Christie and Anderson were cleared of any criminal wrong-doing, and are now using civil litigation to expose official misconduct. Anderson’s lawsuit is in federal court; Christie’s lawsuit in state court will proceed after Anderson’s trial is over in May.
Anderson’s trial will feature testimony from hemp guru Donny Wirtshafter, Dr. Jon Gettman, and Roger Christie, but attorney Steve Strauss says the trial is more about freedom than about hemp.
“Our goal is to tell government that it cannot selectively target citizens for their political beliefs,” said Strauss, a highly-regarded Hawaii attorney who is leading Anderson’s legal team.
Anderson said his lawsuit was not filed due to anger or an urge for revenge, but instead is a demonstration of “a citizen utilizing constitutional rights.”
“I am asking that the government admit it made a big mistake and that it harmed me for no good reason,” he said. “I hope my trial will help others realize the empowerment that happens when people resist government’s attempts to take away plants and freedoms.”