Suit aims to keep CA highway patrol from assisting federal marijuana enforcement

class action lawsuit filed in San Francisco County Superior Court is asking a California judge to block the state’s highway patrol from seizing and turning over cash and other assets from state-legal marijuana companies to federal authorities.

The lawsuit stems from a case that began in September, when employees from a Humboldt County distribution company, Wild Rivers Transport, were stopped by California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers while returning to their corporate headquarters after making a delivery of marijuana products to the Los Angeles area.

According to the newly filed lawsuit, more than $257,000 in cash was seized by CHP and turned over to U.S. Department of Homeland Security officers.

“CHP has gone rogue, and they’re going to continue to do it until they’re stopped,” attorney Matt Kumin, who is representing Wild Rivers, said during a news conference.

The lawsuit asks for a preliminary and permanent injunction to prohibit CHP “from turning over any assets seized from lawfully operating California cannabis businesses to any federal agency,” and Kumin said he believes there could be a ruling as soon as February.

CHP spokeswoman Fran Clader wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily that the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

Kumin also filed a separate civil rights lawsuit on Dec. 13 in Merced Superior Court on behalf of Wild Rivers and its two employees who were detained.

18 comments on “Suit aims to keep CA highway patrol from assisting federal marijuana enforcement
    • Robert Hempaz, PhD Trichometry on

      Having $275,000 cash on you in a car, or a transport vehicle is a “presumption” of trafficking illegal stuff at the Fed level. And, with all of the Fed surplus “siege” equipment being offloaded to state and county Police forces, it does not take a rocket scientist to to see the “tit-for-tat” exchange of captured cash for “tanks” and other goodies. Shame on the county in California that acted so. But, until the Fed government stops “pushing” military equipment onto the safety egos of our local Police officials, all you have carry is a couple of hundred, or a couple of thousand dollars cash when driving to be “confiscated”. On the flip side, legalizing the interstate transport of Cannabis buds, both those buds grown as less than 0.03% THC (hemp) and those buds grown as greater than 0.03% THC (medical marijuana) will go a long way to depositing cash directly into the banking system, as opposed to a local physical safe.

      Reply
    • George Bianchini on

      Old chief on December 18th, 2018 – 4:41am

      “Not by the federal book. Marijuana is still illegal under federal statutes.”

      That’s True Chief: But, The Feds have already Capitulated. The war on drugs failed worse than a Trump on a lie detector machine. Besides the force is with us: ever here of the: Rohrabacher-Farr amendment?

      The DEA Must Stop Interfering With Legal Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Federal Court Rules

      By Daniel White
      October 20, 2015
      In a victory for state medical marijuana programs and patients, a federal court in California ruled Monday that federal authorities may not shut down medical pot dispensaries operating within state laws.
      Under Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which accompanied last year’s spending bill, the Justice Department cannot use federal dollars to interfere with state medical marijuana laws and practices, preventing the DEA from pursuing dispensaries and patients, the court ruled, according to the Washington Post.
      The decision follows a leaked Justice Department memo that interpreted the amendment as offering protections limited to the actual states, not the individuals and businesses which deal with the day-to-day implementation of marijuana laws. As a result of the DEA’s continued enforcement, several dispensaries have been closed in California, including one owned by the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, the first licensed medical pot dispensary in the state.
      Judge Charles Breyer of the U.S. district court in northern California disagreed with the DEA memo, writing in his decision that the department’s interpretation of the law “defies language and logic” and is “at odds with fundamental notions of the rule of law.” Instead, the court sided with the dispensaries, saying the department could not interfere with medical marijuana providers operating legally under state regulations.
      The ruling is a huge win for California’s dispensaries, who have battled with the DEA for years over the legality of their business practices, the Post notes. The decision could also discourage the Department of Justice from cracking down on medical marijuana in the other 23 states with where the substance is legal.
      http://time.com/4080110/dea-medical-marijuana-california-ruling/

      Reply
      • g on

        ”Johnny Korell on December 18th, 2018 – 10:29pm
        What law is there to carry large sums of cash?”

        It’s called the Constitution. It gave U.S. Citizens the freedom and right to use our legal form of currency. Some call it cash.
        I am not aware of any law that prohibits the use of cash, are you? If so many of our senior citizens may end up in prison.

        Reply
        • GH on

          Actually, just look at a bill: “This note is legal tender for all debts public and private.” Not sure why I have it memorized, but Johnny Korell – there is no “law” that restricts or allows people to carry large sums of cash.

          Reply
  1. PRC on

    This attorney must be related to the creepy porn star lawyer Avinutty. I’m sure the dopers have a special fund set aside to pay their taxes on these cash transactions–NOT.

    Reply
  2. mike on

    cops will grab any cash they can by declaring and arresting you as a drug dealer or for other criminal activity. they get to keep it if proven illegal gain so they they spectrascope cash to finr microscopic traces odf druge to prove it is drug money. however tests have shown almost all cash in any of our pockets show some traces. avoid carrying cash even to buy a car. scary what America has come for our protection of course.

    Reply
  3. Anthony on

    If not mistaken, the Cannabis laws that were passed by CA voters have an element that prohibits local and state LE agencies from cooperating with federal agencies in regards to cannabis.

    The CHP has a bad reputation within LE for being a good ol boy agency and for targeting people and businesses to included other agency’s officers. Yes they target cops too! And this is coming from personal experience.

    I believe this case stems from a Trinity County bust on a distribution company. When i first read the article, it was a typical CHP “I don’t like you or like what you are doing” set up. The AAA with a badge officer’s not only stop and arrested two former CHP officers now drivers for the distributor. (Rumors) But they notified Homeland Security to take over the funds so they could never be recoverded. If CHP had retained and booked that money as evidence, it would have been returned if the case was dismissed or acquitted. But since the chippi’s took it upon themselves to turn it to a federal agency it cannot be returned because weed proceeds are illegal under federal law.

    There was and is a personal agenda by the local CHP local station or officer’s. I remember when Union City CHP office started targeting Fremont Police Officer’s by following them to a local watering hole and arresting them as soon as they jumped on the highway. Guess what? An officer has to go thru an intensive investigation even if he beats a DUI cases and for some personal reason CHP wanted to bust Fremont PD.
    Remember the CHP that arrested an on duty fireman because he wouldn’t move his fire truck at an accident scene.
    Or the Chippy that beat up a mentally handicapped older lady with a barrage of closed fist blows. Did anything happened to this guys. NO!
    I spend 22 yrs in Law Enforcement and most of the CHP officers are professionals but there is a mentality that some officers can get away with murder. I remembered being stopped on my way home after a funeral in the Sacramento area, I had changed from my uniform to civilian clothes and I was driving my own vehicle. I had recently purchased a used car from out of state and it had paper plates. Two CHP officers pulled me over and the officers first words were have you been drinking and he motion his head in a yes movement? I looked at him and said “get the f**k out of here, with that head bobbing bullsh*t” i endured 30 minutes of questioning. But i waited for them to illegally open my trunk so i could tell them that i was also LE. They clearly violated my 4th ammendment rights. I sent a memo to their agency and never received a response. A personal friend of mine was in the running for the CHP commisioner’s spot but after a campaign to destroy his name he decided to fight back and sued the state and chp. He went on to become one of the best police chief’s in the nation first by leading Austin PD and now Houston PD.
    If I was the attorney in this case, i would do my homework and start digging around. If this case was a premeditated by CHP and Homeland security, the CHP officers have to answer to the people of CA.
    In this case these cowboys were not following CA laws.

    Comments posted on phone and during a break. Sorry if there was some bad grammar.

    My 2 cents.

    Reply
    • Once Upon a Time on

      Sounds like you were fired or quit your LE job in leu of. Your comments, well at least most of them are purely lies and you don’t know any of the actual facts. Stop telling lies and stories you heard from friends of friends. Maybe it’s you that doesn’t like CHP and you just thought you could sail through because you were supposedly law enforcement.

      As far as your chief friend, he embarrassed the CHP to no end and was so glad he left!

      Reply
      • Anthony on

        Sorry if i embarrassed you with my response. Go Cowboys! You obviously are part of them.

        By the way, i am still employed and fighting your kind.

        Merry Christmas

        Reply
      • Anthony on

        In my original comment into this story, I remember reading about the drivers being former CHP officers. I found the original MJ article and here it is

        https://mjbizdaily.com/california-cannabis-distributor-facing-legal-battle-with-federal-government-over-cash-seizure/

        I also said it was a rumor because at the time, i didn’t verified the content or was i going to waste my time to ask a friend of a friend to give me the scoop as you put it.

        And I hope this puts it to rest because I personally go riding or run into old friends (Yes aaa with a badge) and i personally see them as professionals but I try not to have this conversation with them but some have agreed that the agency has people that should not be employed by them.
        In reality, i could be real harsh and prove you wrong in many ways. Please don’t call me a liar again, i have clearly shown you that I know what i am talking about. I said rumor because I didn’t recall the original article, but I was right, they detained distributor drivers were former CHP officers. Whether they were retired or fired they are still Former CHP. So in other words at one time or another they worked dor your agency, true or false?

        Let me look up former on my dictionary. Take care dinasour.

        Reply

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