Murfreesboro Business Owners Join In 'Candy Crush' Suit Against City, County

Posted at 1:30 PM, Oct 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-15 19:10:07-04

Several business owners have joined a lawsuit against Rutherford County, City of Smyrna, and several law enforcement and city officials over the "Candy Crush" operation.

The drug bust named "Operation Candy Crush" closed more than 20 stores in Rutherford County for allegedly selling candy that contained a form of marijuana

A total of 23 stores were padlocked, but the charges against those store owners were later dropped by the district attorney. The stores were allowed to re-open because in Tennessee, CBD products derived from hemp are completely legal.

Attorney Christopher Smith is representing 16 business store owners now suing Rutherford County, City of Smyrna and several law enforcement and city officials.

"Everybody had to hire criminal defense attorneys to fight these charges which were all dropped, their stores were shut for a period of time," Smith said.

Smith said they are suing because the owners believed their civil rights were violated. They also suffered mental and emotional distress. 

"We allege that that press conference harmed their reputation and their businesses," Smith said.

Part of the new lawsuit provides open request statements. 

In one section, Rutherford County Sheriff Office official, Major William Sharp, allegedly had concerns about moving forward with the raid before it was eventually conducted on Feb. 12.

James Swain Rieves, the owner of Platinum Vapor, LLC doing business as Cloud 9 Hemp, filed a lawsuit against the city, the Sheriff and others in September.

It claimed Rieves suffered mistreatment and that authorities had proof that the same products containing CBD that were sold at Cloud 9 were also being sold at local gas stations, as well as online from websites such as Amazon.

Since that filing, 16 other business owners have been added to the lawsuit filed against a list of defendants which also grew. It is now filed against the town of Smyrna, Rutherford County, Police Chief Kevin Arnold, District Attorney Jennings Jones, District Attorney John Zimmerman, and Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh.