Cannabis Commerce is Being Threatened by Border Patrol Agents. Only an Act of Congress Can Stop It.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in California for four years. But thanks to federal drug laws, even licensed businesses are subject to harassment and seizure by International Customs agents when they travel within 100 miles of any international border. Since the pandemic, interior checkpoints have increased, causing major headaches for marijuana companies. And it could impact economic vitality in some border towns.
Chemical Analysis Labs (Infinite Cal) has stopped working with companies in east Imperial County. The licensed lab has had products seized by border officials at immigration checkpoints four times since March. In one incident, it lost an entire legal hemp crop.
According to the Los Angeles Times, distributor Movocan lost $15,000 at a checkpoint 20 miles from the border and Platinum Vape lost $60,000. Like Infinite Cal, Platinum Vape will no longer transport near the border to protect itself.
“Despite obtaining the correct licensing and paying local, state, and federal taxes in order to operate our businesses within the state of California, these businesses are now being deprived of an essential service required to get their products to market,” Infinite CAL Director Josh Swider wrote in a column for Cannabis Business Executive. “Border Patrol harassment is undermining California’s transition to a legal, regulated market by cutting off the link between labs and manufacturers, “keeping them from testing product for public safety and consumer well-being.”
The only solution is a change in federal law. Border patrol agents are acting on cannabis’ illegal federal status. A bill from Congress, signed by the President of the United States, could put an end to the cannabis wars at the U.S. border.