Company Asks Court To Return Cannabis Money Seized by Government

The government seized money from a cannabis company because it was considered illegal. However, the company says the income should be returned because pot is now legal in California. The case will have implications for other companies being forced to hand over profits despite state law changes.

A company is suing the Federal Government, arguing that it should be entitled to property seized from its bank account as part of a government crackdown on cannabis. The case could have far-reaching implications for those who conduct business with federally illegal substances and face legal troubles because of them.

A money transportation firm located in Pennsylvania has asked a federal court to refund $166,000 in legal cannabis income seized by Kansas law enforcement. According to The Topeka Capital-Journal, the cash was being transferred from Missouri to Colorado in a Ford Transit van owned by Empyreal Logistics when it was stopped on May 18 in Kansas.

Empyreal Logistics transfers cash for cannabis businesses in states with legalized cannabis programs in a safe manner. According to court papers, the company’s attorneys have refuted the government’s assertions that the funds are linked to drug trafficking.

The van’s driver was a Denver-based staffer charged with transporting cash from Missouri dispensaries to a Colorado credit union. After releasing the driver after the original traffic stop, police officers followed up with another day of surveillance before pulling the van over and seizing the monies.

The money recovered from the vehicle came from a number of Missouri dispensaries that were lawfully functioning. In 2018, Missouri voters approved medicinal marijuana, but recreational marijuana remains banned.

Because cannabis is banned both nationally and in Kansas, federal prosecutors allege the money is susceptible to asset forfeiture. In May, however, US Attorney General Merrick Garland declared that the Justice Department will not spend resources pursuing cannabis companies in areas where they are legal.

By Jan. 4, when the case’s scheduling conference takes place, the parties involved will try to achieve a settlement or other resolution.

Gary Miller is an actor, writer, director, comedian, and businessman. Gary, a Veriheal Media Curator, was born and raised in Denver, Colorado.