The hysteria regarding marijuana laws and the heightened attention to border security have combined to reach a new fever pitch, with border patrol reportedly enforcing wildly audacious rules and ruining lives in the process. U.S. border guards have allegedly started turning away Canadian citizens entering the U.S. if it is revealed that they work in the cannabis industry, regardless of whether or not they are in compliance with Canada’s laws or even if their business deals directly with the drug or not, according to The Vancouver Star. Involvement in the cannabis industry means you are profiting from illicit drug trading, in the eyes of U.S. border patrol, an offense that can get you banned from entering the U.S. for life. Once you’re on the list, you never fall off, and admittance into the country would require the help of an immigration attorney and special temporary waivers. Even admitting to ever using cannabis has reportedly led to Canadians being turned away at the border.
Cannabis legalization isn’t enough to protect someone from being arrested on marijuana criminal charges. Being one of the trailblazing marijuana business owners in the state isn’t even necessarily enough. Just ask the woman who opened Ventura County’s first legal medical marijuana dispensary. She has spent the last year and a half facing down charges for perjury, possessing and transporting marijuana, and maintaining a place to sell the drug. These charges, however, were recently dropped, freeing her to focus on her business at last.
The woman is also president of a collective in Ojai, Calif. The property of the collective and her own home in Ventura were raided in November 2016, just before Proposition 64 passed on the ballot. She lost many personal possessions in addition to property of the collective. At the time, the collective was operating under the guidelines of Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which regulated use and sales of medical marijuana in the state, but investigators said she was in violation of those rules, according to a Ventura County Star article. Continue reading
Nine drivers in Northern California are speaking out against what they say are shady practices by police departments who allegedly are targeting businesses while transporting cannabis and seizing their delivery and cash. North Coast Journal conducted an investigation of these cases and found a pattern of confiscations over the past three years without any charges ever being filed against the drivers. Each of the incidents allegedly occurred during traffic stops with local police officers, and some said they were not even in the jurisdiction of that department when the stops were made.
It is not unusual that officers would share duties with other departments near major highways, like Highway 101, to patrol those long stretches of road. It’s not even unusual that they would be intercepting illegal drug transports, as the department in question was part of joint efforts to go after cocaine, meth, opioids, ecstasy, and methamphetamines. Also on the list of targeted drugs, though, was marijuana, and drivers alleged officers showed no interest in whether or not drivers were in compliance with state and local laws. One driver described a briefcase full of all necessary paperwork he carried on his route in case he was pulled over, but it allegedly did not protect him, and the contents of his vehicle were confiscated. Continue reading