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Utah man arrested after cannabis fair, claiming his civil rights were obstructed

Posted at 10:17 PM, Feb 17, 2020

MILLARD COUNTY, Utah — The founder of Great Basin Hemp and Farm Co-op spent the weekend in jail after he was arrested, driving home from the first Utah Cannabis Fair.

Shane England said he was at the fair on Saturday and that he’s licensed to transport hemp. Following the fair, England said he was on his way home to Fillmore and was getting tired.

England said he pulled to the side and got out of his car to get some air.

When England got back on the road around Millard County, he said a Utah Highway Patrol trooper began to follow him, then pulled him over.

“He put the lights on and came up to my window,” England said. “He told me I was being pulled over for mudflap violation.”

England said the trooper told him someone had called in stating a driver had been swerving all over the road.

Seeing a plant and smelling his car, England said the trooper then asked him to step outside for a sobriety test.

“The next half hour I sat in the back of his car as they searched my car for everything and anything we thought was considered paraphanelia, and had a lot of material from the cannabis show,” England said.

England said he was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and was then booked into the Juab County Jail where he went through urine analysis and a blood test.

In a probable cause statement, the trooper reports England’s urine test came back negative.

UHP spokesman Sgt. Nick Street said the trooper had enough probable cause to make an arrest.

“We don’t focus on one minor flaw in the failed sobriety test, there are a variety of indicators to say a person's impaired,” Street said.

UHP reminds drivers that DUI charges are not just for drinking and driving — it could include anything from prescription pills to illicit drugs.

Sgt. Street said troopers have undergone training since the 2018 Utah Medical Cannabis Act was passed.

Simply possessing the amount allowed by the act is not enough for a trooper to search or arrest someone.

“As long as they’re taking those proper steps and have the appropriate licensing, there shouldn’t be an issue,” Street said.

England said what happened to him was not right.

“We really need to clear this up for everybody so that our civil rights as a whole aren’t being violated,” he said.

Right now, UHP is deciding which county justice system this case will go through.

England said his arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday.