Community members in Pensacola, Florida rallied behind a local smoke shop owner on January 16 to protest his arrest on “marijuana trafficking” charges. According to WEAR-TV, Nedal Abdel Mohammad was arrested in 2019 when FedEx called police to investigate a package. However, according to Mohammad’s smoke shop manager Honney Peterson, the package contained hemp-derived Florida CBD products, not the “marijuana” or THC-rich products that were alleged by authorities.

“We had a shipment of CBD come in. When the package was at Fed-Ex, law enforcement was called to check out the box. They claimed it was marijuana even though we had all the proper paperwork with the proper testing levels on THC in it.” — Honney Peterson, in a WEAR-TV interview

Further details from authorities about Mohammad’s case were not publicly available but Peterson said, “they’re trying to give him 15 years to life.”

“He’s an innocent man. He’s a good man. He’s done a lot for this community and helps a lot of people,” he said.

Protestors said that Mohammad helped many of them to pay bills and with medical expenses. “We want people to be aware of what’s happening to an innocent man. We need to clean this up because our community deserves better than this,” Peterson said.

Since the 2018 legalization of hemp, there have been reports of hemp-based CBD product shipments being mistaken for cannabis products all over the United States.

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