top of page

2000 | Kentucky Supreme Court rules "there is no distinction between hemp and marijuana"

Updated: Jan 19, 2019

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled on March 23, 2000 that there was no difference between hemp and marijuana, and reinstated misdemeanor charges against Harrelson. Woody Harrelson is now forced to face marijuana possession charges, once again, after failing to get the state supreme court to distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana.

Harrelson planted four industrial hemp seeds in a Lee County field in June 1996, and had been cited by state officials for marijuana possession. Harrelson argued that the statute outlawing marijuana possession was unconstitutional because it does not clarify or differentiate between marijuana and industrial hemp. The Lee County Court dismissed the charge, finding the state law criminalizing marijuana was overly broad by including industrial hemp.

However, this dismissal was appealed by the government and the state court of appeals in a purely procedural ruling. The government then appealed to the state supreme court.

The final reports claimed that "the legislature's power to regulate a particular article under its police power rests on the presence, in whatever concentration, of a harmful substance. As hemp contains a quantity of THC, and Mr. Harrelson did not overcome the statute's presumption of constitutionality and prove that THC is harmless, the state may validly prohibit its possession. Accordingly, I would reverse the decisions of the Court of Appeals, the circuit court, and the district court and remand this matter to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

[Click here to read full court case Commonwealth vs. Woody Harrelson]

Click the links below to learn more about the Harrelson and Cockrel trials:

1996 | Woody Harrelson speaks at Simpsonville Elementary

1996 | Woody Harrelson arrested for planting hemp in Kentucky

1996 | Donna Cockrel investigated after Woody Harrelson hemp presentation

1996 | Kentucky Hemp Museum & Library launches mobile exhibit

1996 | Woody Harrelson launches hemp essay contest

1996 | School trys to revoke Donna Cockrel's teaching certificate

1996 | Woody Harrelson defends Donna Cockrel

1996 | Woody Harrelson announces hemp essay winners

1996 | Charges dismissed against Woody Harrelson for Kentucky hemp planting

1997 | Kentucky Hemp Museum takes Harrelson, Cockrel and essay winner to movie premiere

1997 | Parents protest against Woody Harrelson's scheduled second visit

1997 | Court finds statute "overbroad" after Harrelson charges are dismissed

1997 | Woody Harrelson makes second visit to Simpsonville Elementary

1997 | Parents want Donna Cockrel fired after second Woody Harrelson hemp presentation

1997 | School Evaluation Claims Donna Cockrel Fails to Meet Performance Requirements

1997 | Kentucky General Assembly Hears Testimony On Hemp

1997 | Donna Cockrel is fired from Simpsonville Elementary

1997 | Woody Harrelson issues statement regarding Donna Cockrel's termination

1998 | Cockrel files suit against Shelby County schools

1998 | Farmers sue to overturn ban on hemp

2000 | Kentucky Supreme Court rules no distinction between hemp and marijuana

2000 | Woody Harrelson acquitted of hemp charges

2001 | Court reverses decision in Donna Cockrel vs. Shelby County schools

2003 | Donna Cockrel receives $70,000 settlement



19 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page