California Needs to Protect Cannabis Deliveries from the CHP
As I’ve blogged previously, California cannabis regulators made the wise decision to allow deliveries across the state, even into cities and counties that have banned regulated retail businesses. This is a policy that I wish my home state of Oregon would adopt as patients with mobility issues shouldn’t be forced to travel long distances, and bans on sales prop up the unregulated, fueling Reefer Madness prohibitionists that like to tout that illicit sales continue after states legalize. Unfortunately, California still needs to fix its delivery laws as the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is currently arresting distributors making deliveries as The Sacramento Bee reported:
Cannabis may be legal in California, but the new rules of the road are so confusing that even former California Highway Patrol officers are struggling with them.
That became clear on a September morning when a pair of former CHP officers who now run a licensed cannabis distribution business found themselves arrested after a traffic stop on Interstate 5 in Stanislaus County.
Rick Barry, 48, and Brian Clemann, 47, were released from custody in Merced hours later, but the CHP kept the $257,000 the two men were transporting and handed it over the Department of Homeland Security, according to a lawsuit filed in Merced County Superior Court.
The treatment of Barry and Clemann has led to them filing a lawsuit against the CHP as Marijuana Business Daily covered:
A 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.
“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.
The California State Assembly needs to take action against the CHP and pass a law that protects the Golden State’s cannabis distributors and delivery drivers across the state. The CHP is going against the directive of state regulators and the will of the voters. State policymakers need to reign in the rogue agency sooner than later. It will be great to hear what California Cannabis Czar Lori Ajax has to say about the CHP interfering with the state’s industry at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco this February 7-8 and see how industry participants start organizing to lobby legislators this upcoming legislative session.