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Oregon truck driver finds himself in middle of state, federal battle over legality of his load of ‘industrial hemp’



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Oregon truck driver Denis Palamarchuk, 36, of Portland, Oregon, has found himself in the middle of a state/federal fight over whether the “industrial hemp” he was hauling from Oregon through Idaho and on to Colorado was illegal.

The Idaho Press reports that Palamarchuk was arrested January 24 at the East Boise, Idaho Point-of-Entry with the hemp load and had a legal bill of lading for it.

Hemp and marijuana are different parts of the same plant, and the recently passed federal Farm Bill forbids states from preventing the transportation of hemp, which is used in cosmetics, dietary supplements and other products. Meanwhile, the Colorado company the hemp belongs to wants its seized shipment back from Idaho and is citing the Farm Bill in a court filing against the state.

Idaho State Police seized 6,701 pounds of the hemp, which tested positive for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. One news account said drug dogs alerted to the hemp.

The trouble stems from the fact that in Idaho, any amount of THC, the part of pot that makes you high, is illegal.

Consequently, the Ada County prosecuting attorney’s office insists that hauling hemp through Idaho is illegal and that the seizure was lawful.

Hemp, while not a scheduled substance, contains trace amounts of THC but not enough to produce a high. Under federal regulations, hemp must contain 0.3 percent or less of THC.

Idaho State Police said the seized hemp is being tested at a lab independent of their office but did not specify which lab is conducting the tests. If the substance does contain greater than 0.3 percent THC, it would not meet the federal definition of hemp.

Big Sky Scientific, the Colorado company that was the intended recipient of the hemp, has filed a lawsuit against Idaho State Police, and in court documents, documented that the shipment is industrial hemp that contains less than 0.3 percent THC.

“Big Sky has a legally protectable interest in the present controversy because it has rightful title to the property and said property is federally-protected pursuant to the 2018 Farm Bill,” the complaint stated.

The Farm Bill, which was updated in December, says, “No State or Indian Tribe shall prohibit the transportation or shipment of hemp or hemp products produced in accordance with subtitle G of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (as added by section 10113) through the State or the territory of the Indian Tribe, as applicable,” in section 10114, item B.

Elijah Watkins, an attorney representing Big Sky, told the Idaho Press that Idaho has no right to stop a business in one state from obtaining a legal good from another.

“I think regardless of the Farm Bill, it’s still of a lawful good,” he said.

But under Idaho law, all species of cannabis regardless of genus, including low-THC hemp plants, are illegal.

Ada County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bandy said hemp haulers aren’t free from prosecution, because of the Idaho law making hemp illegal. Bandy would not comment further, since the state police office is facing litigation, the Press reported.

Meanwhile, VIP Transportation, the Portland-based trucking company that was hauling the substance in question, is defending the legality of the shipment.

“We are 1,000 percent sure that this will get resolved because we didn’t break any law,” Ivan Pavliy, owner of VIP Transportation, previously told the newspaper.

Pavliy said it was the company’s third load of hemp when Palamarchuk was arrested. It is unclear if the company had previously hauled hemp through Idaho, as it services 48 states.

“If proper climate and airflow are not maintained, the product will mold,” according to the court document. “If that happens, the product will be worthless and Big Sky will have lost not only the estimated $1.3 million value of its industrial hemp shipment’s isolates, but also the opportunity of being among the first entrants into the new congressionally-created industrial hemp market.”

According to the document, the hemp was being transported from Boones Ferry Berry Farm, which is a licensed industrial hemp grower in the state of Oregon. Additionally, the hemp grown at the farm was tested by two different state-certified laboratories to certify its THC content met federal standards, according to an enclosed memorandum.

Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts responded to Big Sky in a document filed with the court, stating that regardless of whether the product meets the federal standards of hemp, it is still illegal in the state of Idaho, making the seizure lawful.

Citing Idaho law, Bennetts refused to comply with the emergency motion for injunctive relief.

While production and possession of hemp and marijuana are still illegal in Idaho, the state’s Legislature may change the state’s position on hemp.

State Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, R-Genesee, plans to introduce a bill soon that would legalize hemp in Idaho, which she said will give Idaho farmers an option to grow a versatile and potentially lucrative crop.

Meanwhile, according to trucking attorney Brad Klepper, driver Palamarchuk faces marijuana trafficking charges.

Klepper said if found guilty, Palamarchuk could face up to five years in prison and a fine of $15,000.

In April 2018, the Idaho State Police arrested Andrew D’Addario, 27, of Colorado, and Erich Eisenhart, 25, of Oregon, for hauling hemp plants through Idaho.


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The Nation

WIT’s Ellen Voie wins inaugural Cinderella to CEO of the Year honor



Women In Trucking Association President Ellen Voie, left, accepts a copy of the book “From Cinderella to CEO, How to Master the 10 Lessons of Fairy Tales to Transform Your Work Life” from its author Cary Broussard. Voie was named the 2019 Cinderella to CEO of the Year. (Courtesy: WOMEN IN TRUCKING)

PLOVER, Wis. — Women In Trucking Association President and CEO Ellen Voie has been named the 2019 Cinderella to CEO of the Year — along with winning her award category “Climbing the Beanstalk” — for cultivating an innovative improvement to the workplace to create inroads for women to achieve career goals and enhanced work-life balance opportunities for all genders.

The Cinderella to CEO Awards recognize women who have overcome obstacles to change businesses, communities and industries for the better.

The inaugural awards, inspired by the book “From Cinderella to CEO, How to Master the 10 Lessons of Fairy Tales to Transform Your Work Life” by Cary Broussard, honored 200 women across industries and communities who were nominated for the awards.

“Our goal is to accelerate the successes of women who have worked hard and helped others to also succeed by connecting them to opportunities and each other,” said Broussard, CEO of Broussard Global. “In 2030, women in the U.S. are expected to control 75 percent of the wealth in this country. We want the wealth to be in the good, caring hands of those who strive to make the world a better place.”

Nine category winners, including Voie, were recognized by a distinguished Cinderella to CEO panel of judges for their support of other women, their transformational ability to overcome obstacles and barriers, and their desire to motivate others to accomplish their dreams. Each award category is tied to a chapter in Broussard’s book.

“I am so honored to receive the very first Cinderella to CEO award, as there were hundreds of nominations featuring some amazing women who have done truly notable and altruistic projects,” Voie said. “I am especially thrilled to be recognized by an organization outside the trucking industry, which makes the award even more special.”

Women In Trucking Association is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as 17 percent of its members are men who support the mission.



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FMCSA explains Hours of Service proposed rule



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10 finalists named in search for top rookie military veteran driver



Last year’s top military rookie Quinton Ward sits in the cab of his new Kenworth with Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. (Courtesy: KENWORTH TRUCK CO.)

KIRKLAND, Wash. — The top 10 finalists have been named in the search for the top rookie veteran driver.

Kenworth has teamed with the FASTPORT Trucking Track Mentoring Program and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes Program to find the top rookie military veteran, who has made the successful transition from active duty to driving for a commercial fleet.

The top 10 finalists with their military branch and current truck fleet include:

  • Chris Bacon/U.S. Marines/TMC Transportation
  • Thomas Blitch/U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves/Werner Enterprises
  • Wade Bumgarner/U.S. Navy/Veriha Trucking
  • Joseph Campbell/U.S. Marines and U.S. Army/Roehl Transport
  • Keso Going/U.S. Army/Epes Transport
  • Steve Harris/U.S. Marines/Stevens Transport
  • Kevin Lassing/ U.S. Army/U.S. Xpress
  • Maliq Melton, U.S. Army, Melton Truck Lines.
  • Monte Morrone/U.S. Army and U.S. Marines/Prime Inc.
  • Tim Raub/ U.S. Navy/Averitt Express

Drivers were nominated by trucking companies that made a hiring commitment and pledge to hire veterans on  or, by members of the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, or Commercial Vehicle Training Association-member school.

“This year’s competition in the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” program features an outstanding group of 10 finalists, who are representing their fleet and branch of military service. On behalf of Kenworth, we appreciate their dedication to excel as truck drivers in their new profession, and we are grateful for their military service to the country,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director.

“It is important for organizations across the United States to especially reach out to our veterans to help them make a smooth transition back into civilian life. This is one way that the trucking industry is doing its part,” said Brad Bentley FASTPORT president.

During the Great American Trucking Show August 22-24 in Dallas, three finalists in the recognition program will be announced as America’s top rookie military drivers. All 10 drivers will receive special recognition at the President George W. Bush Library during a tour and reception. The final winner will be announced in December.

For further information on the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award program, please visit





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