Imagine being an entrepreneur, jumping through all the hoops required by your state to get the required business licensing, credentials, business permits, and whatever else the bureaucrats deem necessary…only to get raided by the police (just for conducting your business), who then seize every asset they can find, including your children’s college funds. Not really part of the American Dream, is it? Sounds more like something that would have happened in the Soviet Union or Cuba. But that is exactly what is happening in California and other states that have legalized cannabis for medical and discretionary consumption.
The voters have spoken
The voters have spoken. And they are generally in favor of cannabis and hemp. Every year, new states are authorizing cannabis for medical purposes, with four plus the District of Columbia having also authorized discretionary use. And yet, those cannabusinesses that are operating within their rights according to state law are caught between a rock and a stone. State laws have legalized their businesses; yet, the federal government prevents them from using traditional banking systems. This forces most cannabis enterprises to be all-cash businesses, making them ripe for robberies and raids.
In January 2016 a cannabis extraction company specializing in CBD oils was targeted by the San Diego Joint Narcotics Task Force. In June of the same year, the company, Med-West Distributors, was raided again. This business had been operating since 2010 under licensing provided by the same town that authorized the raid on them. The task force has seized over $1.4 million in cash and product from the company, its owner and his family—without ever having charged the business or the owner with a crime.
That bears repeating: The authorities have seized over a million dollars in personal and company assets from Med-West Distributors without ever charging anyone with a crime.
California voters spoke, way back in 1996, when they first voted to legalize medical cannabis. Since then, the state has been working to create legislation regulating every phase of the industry, from growing, extraction, and manufacturing to packaging and distribution. The state has been a leader in this regard, though they haven’t been able to keep up with patient demands and business needs.
To be fair, California lawmakers are working on a whole new set of regulations but aren’t expected to have them set until 2017 or 2018. Businesses are faced with the choice of shuttering their doors until the new laws are in place or continuing operations, but in a state of limbo. Those functioning under the old regulations should have been grandfathered in, with realistic goals for them to get into compliance once the new regulations are set.
Instead, they have been trapped in a very precarious position, between operating in a legal gray area and needing to keep their facilities productive and take care of their employees. The patients who rely on the medicines extracted from the plant can’t wait for the legislature to get its act together; and the cannabusinesses can’t delay paying workers, investors, landlords, and others.
Is this really how democracy is supposed to work? Is this a free America, or an authoritarian dictatorship? It’s time for state, county, and local governments to get on the same page, or at the very least, leave law-abiding citizens and businesses alone.
RELATED: For more cannabis news, info on consuming cannabis for health, great recipes, how-to videos, and information on the MagicalButter machine, check out MagicalButter.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amber Boone considers writing the cornerstone of communication. She interviews MMA (mixed martial arts) athletes for CombatPress.com and opines on MMA at FightItOut.com. She’s passionate about helping folks tell their stories and making the world a better place, which includes working to win the freedom of Americans to partake of the herb. When not writing or playing beach volleyball, she can be found at her day job—for now. Follow Amber on Twitter @thruthetrees11.