Kansas Sheriff Seizes Cash from Legal Marijuana Sales

A Colorado logistics company is trying to get the return of practically $165,000 in funds seized by a Kansas sheriff’s section, arguing that the dollars is from authorized marijuana sales and should really not have been taken by law enforcement officers. The cash was seized from an personnel of Empyreal Logistics in the course of a targeted traffic cease on May well 18 in Dickinson County, Kansas just after remaining gathered by the personnel from health-related cannabis dispensaries in Missouri.

The U.S. Attorney’s office environment for Kansas submitted a civil asset forfeiture case in the make a difference, claiming in court docket files that the cash is issue to seizure because of alleged violations of federal guidelines versus production and distributing medication, according to media studies. The unidentified driver of the motor vehicle has not been billed with a criminal offense, on the other hand.

Drug Enforcement Administration Distinctive Agent Bryson Wheeler wrote in an affidavit submitted in the forfeiture case that the around $165,620 was seized from a Ford Transit van owned by Denver-primarily based Empyreal Logistics by Dickinson County Sheriff’s Deputy Kalen Robison in the course of a visitors quit along I-70. Robison experienced also pulled the van above the working day before for a slight traffic violation. 

Throughout the to start with targeted visitors prevent, the driver told the deputy that she was gathering dollars from hashish dispensaries in Kansas Town, Missouri, and transporting the funds through Kansas to a credit union in Colorado. Missouri legalized health-related marijuana in 2018 by means of a voter-accredited constitutional modification, but Kansas is one particular of the couple of remaining states that have no provisions for authorized hashish. 

The driver was released and set underneath surveillance by DEA brokers, who noticed her “stopping at and getting into a number of state marijuana dispensaries” in Missouri. The working day immediately after the first targeted visitors prevent, Robison pulled the van more than yet again along the interstate. The motive for the second targeted traffic prevent is not bundled in the affidavit, according to the Topeka Funds-Journal.

Through the site visitors halt on May possibly 18, regulation enforcement officers seized five luggage of dollars, which the driver claimed ended up from cannabis dispensaries in Missouri. A police canine device later “alerted to the odor of marijuana coming from the forex,” the DEA agent wrote, and “marijuana is a managed material and unlawful below both equally federal and Kansas condition legislation.”

Attorneys for Empyreal Logistics argued in court docket documents that the seized income ought to be returned to the enterprise, disputing claims from federal prosecutors that the funds was connected to drug trafficking and topic to forfeiture.

“Plaintiff’s statements ought to be barred as the perform which produced the Defendant house was lawful underneath Missouri state legislation and tacitly or affirmatively permitted by the motion of the United States Federal Federal government,” the company’s lawyers wrote.

Perils of a Cash-Primarily based Business

The Empyreal circumstance illustrates the issues faced by point out-legal hashish corporations, which are compelled to operate generally in dollars due to the fact of federal drug and income-laundering guidelines. On its site, the organization promises to handle the challenges of working in a dollars-only market with options together with “low-profile, eco-mindful, armored motor vehicles.”

“With our condition-of-the-artwork facilities, secure currency processing, and management expert services, we safely and securely and securely manage the dollars assets of hundreds of enterprises throughout a number of industries so they can focus on taking care of their operations,” the enterprise wrote in a push launch unrelated to the asset forfeiture case. “Empyreal employs info and intelligence resources to enable maximize our cash remedy, with the objective of transforming the way purchasers consider of secured transport.”

Arshad Lasi, the CEO of hashish dispensary operator the Nirvana Team, suggests that lots of of the cash-managing concerns confronted by the hashish industry could be solved with passage of the Secure Banking Act, laws that would allow money institutions to give conventional banking providers to point out-authorized marijuana companies. Provisions of the monthly bill ended up provided in a armed forces investing monthly bill passed by the House of Associates in September, but the Senate has not however authorised the legislation.

“Providing accredited cannabis enterprises with the chance to bank in a traditional fashion and not be confined to dealing in income is crucial,” Lasi wrote in an e mail. “Banking permits firms to continue being compliant, will help them avoid liabilities, amid other gains such as basic safety and safety.”

“I’m hopeful that the Protected Banking Act will go in the Senate, as its passage will also strengthen the cannabis industry’s name as a legit and major participant in states’ economies,” Lasi extra.

Lex Corwin, founder and CEO of California hashish cultivator Stone Road, claimed that forcing lawful cannabis providers to run on a hard cash-only foundation is “ridiculous and harmful” and called on lawmakers to go the legislation.

“The Protected Banking Act would give an previously lawful market the legitimacy it requires and that it is actually due, specifically considering that the federal government has no troubles accumulating stated hashish businesses’ revenue in hard cash,” Corwin advised Significant Instances. “Cash dealings are also a massive liability and personalized security issue––the largest scenarios of personal injury and demise are all over cash pickups and dropoffs, ultimately putting individuals hoping to participate in inside the lawful system in harm’s way.” 

U.S. Justice of the peace Judge Kenneth Gale has set a scheduling listening to in the Empyreal asset forfeiture situation for January 4. The DEA nationwide general public affairs place of work and a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Workplace for Kansas declined to remark on the circumstance to neighborhood media, citing the pending litigation.