In 2018, a Wake County drug agent stopped a package coming down the conveyor belt inside a Raleigh FedEx facility, noticing that it had been taped along all the seams. This raised a warning flag, court records said, as did the phone number listed for Joe Teague, the addressee: (888) 888-8888. So the agent pulled the box out the line for roughly 5 to 10 minutes until a drug-detecting dog, named Hydro, could give it a sniff. Hydro’s reaction triggered a search warrant, which led to 15 pounds of marijuana packed in vacuum-sealed bags, according to court records. Following Teague’s conviction on multiple drug-related charges, he argued to the NC Court of Appeals that the drug agents not only lacked probable cause to search the package but also were unjustified considering North Carolina has legalized industrial hemp. Because marijuana and hemp look and smell alike, he argued, agents on the scene had no way of telling the two apart without performing a chemical test.
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