Oregon Hemp Farmers Sue Processors for $11.2 Million

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A hemp farm based in the Pacific Northwest is suing numerous processers for failing to show up and process their crop after receiving a hefty down payment.

Jefferson State Farms from Medford, Oregon – owned by Ben and Kathleen Yuma – is suing a group of harvesters who left them hanging after getting paid a six-figure down payment. Palex Enterprises, Hemp Warehouse, Great Horizons, and four individual processors are the listed defendants.

The lawsuit, totaling over $11 million, is claiming civil fraud, unlawful trade practices, and breech of contract. According to Jefferson State Farms, the defendants were paid $136,000 to harvest 112,500 hemp plants, starting October 9, 2019.

About a week after the start date had passed, the Yumas confronted the companies and received $50,000 back, but were still waiting on the final $86,000 from their initial down payment, despite numerous promises of reimbursement.

On Nov. 6, the Yumas made another attempt to collect their $86,000 at the Hemp Warehouse and Palex Enterprises facility in White City, which the farm owners claim got physical. “Defendant Paul was present and physically assaulted Kathleen Yuma, pushing her against the wall and pinning her there by driving his thumbs into her armpits,” the lawsuit claims. “Kathleen Yuma was injured and the Yumas felt intimidated.”

Jefferson State Farms now wants to collect the outstanding $86,000 that they’re owed, plus $200,000 in fees for having to resource harvesting and drying services, as well as $11.2 million, which is what the Yumas claim their crop would have been worth.

According to the lawsuit, the $11.2 million is based on the farm’s claimed wholesale value for flower at $200 per pound. Instead, the farm had to sell the crop as “combined biomass” for $10 a pound because the neglected crop deteriorated and collected mold in the field.

The case is pending in Jackson County Circuit Court. More details about the lawsuit are available here.

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