Store owner wants $500K for 'Operation Candy Crush' arrest

Sep 27, 2018 at 09:23 am by Michelle Willard

Operation Candy Crush

The first lawsuit, in what is likely to be several, challenging Operation Candy Crush has been filed in federal court, WKRN's Larry Flowers reported.

The suit alleges that Cloud 9 Hemp owner James Swain Rieves had his civil rights violated when his business was raided and padlocked in February and September 2017 for selling hemp-based CBD gummies and other similar products. Rieves is represented by Brazil Clark Law Firm.

It was filed against the Town of Smyrna, Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold, Rutherford County, District Attorney Jennings Jones, Assistant DA John Zimmerman, and Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh.

The charges were dropped after Rieves and the owners of 23 other local businesses were arrested and taken to jail in a paddywagon.

Rieves told Flowers his business and reputation is still being impacted by the incident.

Trying to get back on my feet and at a pace that the business was going before September 2017, it's just like I’ve been swimming against the current the whole time,” Rieves told Flowers.

The suit asks for $500,000 in compensatory damages as well as other damages, including severe emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income, diminished reputation, and standing in the community as well as attorney fees.

Read full lawsuit (PDF). 

So what happened?

Dubbed "Operation Candy Crush," Rutherford County District Attorney Jennings Jones obtained indictments for 21 individuals and charged them with felonies for possessing and selling a schedule VI drug, as well as civil charges.

The indictments came from undercover officers from the Sheriff’s Office and Smyrna Police Department purchasing products containing cannabidiol, a.k.a., CBD, at the 23 stores.

The charges were dropped after it was proven that the products are legal in the state of Tennessee.

Kaleidoscope Vapor owner Stacey Hamilton said the officers confiscated more than $5,000 in cash, the cash registered from both stores, all products containing CBD and several vials of tobacco-based e-liquid for use in vaping. In all, the officers took more than 10,000 in cash and products.

She also said she has lost more than $20,000 in revenue from having her stores closed for the week.

Further reading

'Operation Candy Crush' leaves 23 Rutherford businesses padlocked
Was Rutherford County's CBD item bust legal? One expert says no.
'Candy Crush' saga store owners allowed to reopen
Charges dismissed in 'Candy Crush' saga
Operation Candy Crush: RCSO investigation implies District Attorney's Office at fault
Photos: Arrestees in CBD Store Bust

Michelle Willard is a freelance journalist who fills her days with social media marketing, politics, true crime, and taking complaints. You can complain to her on Twitter @MichWillard or by email michelle(at)

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