Although Disney’s Magic Kingdom might be known as the happiest place in the world, Disney executives might be questioning that thought at the moment. A 69-year old Grandmother was wrongly arrested for possession of Marijuana and is now going after Disney in court.
Hester Burkhalter, aged 69, was visiting the world-renowned happy place in Orlando, Florida, with her two adopted children when Disney security found a bottle of CBD, or Cannabidiol, in her purse. After security guards called the police, the 69-year old was arrested by police officers. The incident took place already in 2019. Yet, Burkhalter has now decided that she will sue Disney for the tidy sum of 18 Million Dollars. A happy place indeed.
The Grandmother talks on Fox 35 about the abuse that police and Disney security subjected her to. According to Burkhalter, she was arrested and handcuffed in front of her two children and hauled off to jail by police. In the police car, Burkhalter alleges she was vomiting due to panic attacks and was offered no medical assistance whatsoever. The 69-year-old was in jail for 12 hours. Before she entered the cell, she was subjected to more abuse and humiliation. Police forced Burkhalter to do a strip down and cavity search inside the jail.
The substance that had been found on Hester Burkhalter is called CBD Oil or Cannabidiol. It is an oil that is taken from the Cannabis plant. CBD oil contains no THC, the illegal substance in cannabis, and was prescribed to Burkhalter by her doctor. Burkhalter had been recommended CBD oil for her arthritis by a physician in Tennessee. Florida’s cannabis law does require persons to be licensed to own medical Marijuana; under Florida state law, Burkhalter was not authorized.
Although Burkhalter was released from jail after only 12 hours, she has been sufficiently traumatized by the events to seek legal action against Disney and the Orange County Sherriff’s department.
Burkhalter has hired legal powerhouse, Ben Crump, to plead her case in court. Crumb, who is currently also the legal counsel for the families of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. On a press conference on Wednesday, Crumb mentioned that the situation clearly illustrated that Disney lacks common sense and common decency in the way people are treated. He also said that Disney discriminates against people that need different kinds of medicine because traditional medicine did not work for them
The lawyer wasn’t finished there as he blasted Disney for having his client arrested for having a bottle of CBD in her purse, subsequently being arrested, spending 12 hours in jail, and at the same time being strip-searched and having a cavity search performed. The legal council did however admit that Disney was not wrong for denying entrance to the world-famous amusement park.
Later on, in the press conference, Mr. Crumb talked about the Orange Country Sherriff Department. Crumb says that how they treated this wonderful grandmother like a common criminal in front of her children and grandchildren was disgraceful. Her grandchildren even asked why Mickey Mouse would have their grandmother arrested. Crumb went on to mention that Disney and the Orange County Sherriff’s department had stolen 69-year old grandmother’s dignity, sense of pride, and sense of security in her role as the esteemed matriarch of the family.
Disney and Mickey Mouse anything but magic
Crumb concluded the press conference mentioning that Disney’s true colors are anything but magical right now, and people of good moral character should stand up to the evil from Mickey and Disney. Crumb concluded the press conference in dramatic form by saying that Mickey Mouse has an obligation to all people to show Civil rights are followed and respected within the Disney organization.
All Charges Dropped
Although all charges against Hester Burkhalter were dropped in May, she is still pressing forward with the suit as it was the most humiliating day of her life. She says she still gets sick when she thinks of the day. Burkhalter is still affected by having to take her clothes off in front of other people. She also mentioned that she does not sleep well and even has nightmares about the entire episode.
Her children are traumatized as they now see Disney and Mickey Mouse as a terrible organization that arrests grandmothers. It is also hard for the kids, she mentioned, when they want to go to Disney but cannot because of a small bottle of Cannabis oil that Grandma uses as a painkiller.
Although Crumb has said that CBD oil was legal at the time of the arrest, in fact, in 2019 CBD oil was still considered illegal under Florida State law. Therefore, it remains to be seen what the outcome of this Magic Kingdom fairy tale will be.