The arrest of an American man in Myanmar for growing 20 acres of cannabis plants is unjust because authorities were aware that his company was doing scientific research and police were confusing hemp with recreational marijuana, his lawyer said Friday.
Attorney Thein Than Oo said that John Fredric Todoroki and the III M Global Nutraceutical Co. had received official permission for their activity, which he described as research.
“This company rented the land and is running its laboratory officially,” he said. “Their intention is to do research, not to sell or distribute. If their research goes well, they will work with the government.”
Myanmar’s anti-drug agency says Todoroki and two Myanmar citizens were arrested after police on Monday raided the plantation on an industrial estate in the country’s central Mandalay region.
Police found what they said were about 349,300 marijuana plants, 5,200 seedlings, 380 kilograms (838 pounds) of marijuana seeds, 1,804 grams (64 ounces) of marijuana oil, and chemicals and equipment for processing the plants into CBD, or cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating compound that many believe has health benefits.
Police said they were also seeking to arrest Alexander Skemp Todoroki. It’s unclear where the Todorokis,