Crime and Justice

CBD-Vermont owner arrested for failing to pay farmers

A Middlesex CBD processor was arrested Wednesday for allegedly failing to pay local hemp farmers $137,500 for hemp harvested last summer and fall.

Douglas Bell, the owner of CBD Vermont.

Douglas Bell, owner of CBD-Vermont in Waterbury, allegedly victimized five Vermont farms in Washington and Lamoille counties — Ananda Gardens, Cate Farm, Knoll Farm, Zach Woods Herb Farm and Lisa and Ryan Mase, according to the Vermont State Police.

Police say Bell owes 10 more farmers money for hemp harvests. The victims, 15 in all, have suffered cumulative losses of $500,000, police said.

State police say Bell contracted with the farms to grow hemp and didn’t pay, or he wrote checks that were returned for lack of funds. 

The farmers filed theft of services and bad check charges with the Vermont State Police.

When the police arrived at Bell’s home 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, he was seen driving off and was apprehended on Leland Farm Road in Middlesex. Bell was taken into custody and processed for the investigation into the alleged theft and a DUI.

Bell was held on $10,000 bail at the Northeast Correctional Center in St. Johnsbury. He will be arraigned in Washington County court 12:45 p.m. Thursday.

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Anne Galloway

About Anne

Anne Galloway is the founder and editor of VTDigger and the executive director of the Vermont Journalism Trust. Galloway founded VTDigger in 2009 after she was laid off from her position as Sunday editor of the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. VTDigger has grown from a $16,000 a year nonprofit with no employees to a $2 million nonprofit daily news operation with a staff of 25. In 2017, Galloway was a finalist for the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics, the Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award and the Investigative Reporters and Editors FOIA Award for her investigation into allegations of foreign investor fraud at Jay Peak Resort.

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