A South Carolina farmer is suing several state agencies in federal court on grounds they conspired to deny him his due process rights after authorities in 2019 destroyed his hemp crop, which was grown in unregistered fields.
In a federal lawsuit filed Sept. 16, John Trenton Pendarvis alleges the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Department of Agriculture, and attorney general’s office all denied him due process after Department of Agriculture officials discovered unreported hemp crops during a check of his Dorchester County property on July 30, 2019.
According to the lawsuit, Pendarvis filed an amendment application and said that extensive droughts had forced him to move his crop’s location. However, Derek Underwood, assistant commissioner of the Agriculture Department’s Consumer Protection Division, insisted that the farmer’s oversight was a “willful violation” of the state’s hemp farming program, according to emails shared in the complaint. He then began seeking approval to destroy the crop.
The legal mechanism for seeking such approval is unclear, which is where Pendarvis alleges the government’s procedure violated his due process rights.
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