A cannabis money transport firm is suing the federal government in California Court over a civil forfeiture of cash by law enforcement officers in Kansas and California, who were working in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. As our Los Angeles cannabis company lawyers recognize, the case underscores the unique risked undertaken by those in the legal cannabis industry who are largely cut off from traditional banking resources, thanks to federal marijuana prohibition laws.
The case is Empyreal Enterprises LLC v. United States, filed in January in the Central District Court of California.
Plaintiff is actually a Pennsylvania-based firm that offers cash collection and transport services to state-licensed medical cannabis businesses across the country. The company alleges that police and DEA agents in Kansas seized more than $165,000 in cash proceeds from a vehicle in Empryeal – money that belonged to a completely state-legal cannabis dispensary in Missouri that was being transported to another state.
Specifically, the plaintiff alleges numerous counts of something called ultra vires, which is legal jargon for actions that a government agency takes that go beyond its lawful authority. They further allege due process violations and violations of Fourth Amendment rights. The company is looking specifically to block the government from carrying out these stops, searches, and seizures from its property or possessions, which it alleges are not constitutional. An requested emergency order for that last was shot down by a U.S. District Court judge in January, but the case is still proceeding. Whether we’ll have a final decision on the matter this year remains to be seen, but it’s a case that will be worth watching as it progresses through the courts. Continue reading