Armored car firm loses court fight in marijuana battle against authorities

Be at the forefront of cannabis and psychedelics science and innovation. Register today & Save $200 on tickets to The Emerald Conference by MJBiz Science, April 1-3 in San Diego.

A federal judge rejected a request for a temporary restraining order barring peace officers from seizing money from the vehicles of a national armored car company that provides cash transportation services to marijuana businesses.

It was the company’s first court battle with federal and California law enforcement agencies.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Judge John Holcomb of the U.S. District Court in Riverside ruled that Denver-based Empyreal Logistics – which has sued the U.S. government and California’s San Bernardino County sheriff’s office – failed to meet the requirements for a restraining order.

“Empyreal may very well have an excellent case on the merits – the court respects Empyreal’s zeal and does not doubt its sincerity – but Empyreal’s counsel does their client no favors by cutting procedural corners and ignoring the court’s guidance,” the judge wrote in his opinion.

In a lawsuit filed last month, Empyreal alleges that law enforcement officers have engaged in “highway robbery” from its company vehicles by seizing cash they knew came from state-legal marijuana businesses.

Holcomb also didn’t agree with the plaintiff’s argument that the FBI was breaking federal law by seizing cash proceeds from marijuana sales, despite a federal statute that prohibits the U.S. Department of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana laws, the Times reported.

Stay informed with MJBiz Newsletters

MJBiz’s family of newsletters gives cannabis professionals an edge in this rapidly changing industry.

Featured newsletters:
  • MJBizDaily: Business news for cannabis leaders in your inbox each morning
  • MJBiz Cultivator: Insights for wholesale cannabis growers & vertically integrated businesses
  • MJBizCon Buzz: Behind-the-scenes buzz on everything MJBizCon
  • MJBiz Retail + Brand: New products, trends and news for cannabis retailers, distributors and marketers
  • Hemp Industry Week: Roundup of news from hemp farming to CBD product manufacturing
  • And more!


“Put simply, there is not enough evidence at this time to suggest that Empyreal’s constitutional rights were violated,” Holcomb wrote.

The case remains active, but no further hearings have been scheduled, according to court records.