CA marijuana distributors lose first fight in attempt to bar feds from seizing assets

A California cannabis distributor has lost the first round in what could prove to be an important test case in determining the role of the federal government in cracking down on marijuana companies.

A state judge in California Superior Court in San Francisco County declined on Feb. 25 to issue a preliminary injunction against the state highway patrol.

The injunction request was part of a lawsuit filed in December by a licensed distributor who claimed law enforcement officers called in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to seize more than a quarter of a million dollars in cash during a traffic stop.

The plaintiffs, Humboldt County-based Wild River Transport, had asked for an injunction against the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in order to prohibit the involvement of the federal government in such cases.

Judge Ethan Schulman wrote in his decision that the plaintiffs failed to establish that CHP “has a policy of targeting licensed cannabis businesses in California for purposes of forfeiture.”

Matt Kumin, one of the attorneys representing the MJ distributor, said he and other lawyers in the case can pinpoint several instances in which licensed distributors have been stopped and their funds seized.

The difficulty, however, has been in convincing other licensed companies to come forward to support the lawsuit.

“The judge was like, ‘This looks like a one-off,'” Kumin said. “We may have to do discovery and get the CHP to tell us all the instances where this has happened.”

Kumin added that the case is ongoing and a “tentative settlement” with CHP is possible.

However, he said, it may be several months more before the case is resolved or advances in the court system.

John Schroyer can be reached at [email protected]

5 comments on “CA marijuana distributors lose first fight in attempt to bar feds from seizing assets
  1. George Bianchini on

    Boy, good thing the war on drugs is over. Another example that this placebo legalization in California is not working. The public voted to make cannabis legal. The politicians and law enforcement refuse to do their jobs.
    They still act like Cannabis is something other than a benign plant with wonderful medical properties.
    Well if this all goes down the tubes, California is now producing more Black Market weed than they ever did before. The consumer will still get what they want, good medicine and some dank bud to enjoy with enlightened friends.

    Reply
    • Charlie on

      We must never give them the power to take away what God has provided for us to use in healing! Shame on municipal ipalities and their greed!! Make LOVE NOT Wr!! Peace in the plant!! Amen

      Reply
  2. Duncan20903 on

    California State Constitution Article III Section 3.5:

    An administrative agency, including an administrative agency created by the Constitution or an initiative statute, has no power:

    (a) To declare a statute unenforceable, or refuse to enforce a statute, on the basis of it being unconstitutional unless an appellate court has made a determination that such statute is unconstitutional;

    (b) To declare a statute unconstitutional;

    (c) To declare a statute unenforceable, or to refuse to enforce a statute on the basis that federal law or federal regulations prohibit the enforcement of such statute unless an appellate court has made a determination that the enforcement of such statute is prohibited by federal law or federal regulations.

    https://ballotpedia.org/Article_III,_California_Constitution

    Reply
  3. Jeff on

    The recent Supreme Court case on law enforcement seizure of property should help this case. But, I will bet that the reason the CHP called DHS officers is because there dept. got a share of that cash. Every one should push back on this legalized criminality by the very ones who are supposed to stop criminals.

    Reply
  4. Salmon Creeker on

    Seizure has always been the “Humboldt way” for law enforcement in this area . Back in the eighties I remember a CHP officer talking openly about targeting individuals for their cash or sometimes drugs .
    It was happening then and I doubt it has changed much just more people showing their a**.

    Reply

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