UKIAH (CBS SF) — A licensed marijuana company in Ukiah wants law enforcement authorities to return the marijuana they seized.
“The idea that this industry starts on January 1 is just absurd,” said Lucas Seymour, the co-founder and CEO of Old Kai.
Last Friday, California Highway Patrol officers pulled over one of the logistics company’s delivery trucks, arrested two employees and seized 1,875 pounds of pot, along with the van.
The weed distributor has a local pot license.
But the CHP says the company needed a state license to transport marijuana. The state licensing takes effect Monday.
The driver and another employee in the van were cited for possession of cannabis for sale and unlawful transportation of cannabis even though the company has a business license and medical pot permits.
The company’s attorney, Joe Rogoway, said the company has a license from Mendocino County and was told it could operate legally. He is demanding the charges be dropped and the cannabis and vehicle returned.
It’s busy time for Seymour.
“Opening your doors on January 1 is great but you wouldn’t have any product. There are so many steps in order for whatever cannabis product it is to actually be on the shelf.”
Harvesting, testing, measuring, and moving cannabis are all part of the rush to have products ready to sell on January 1.
But the California Highway Patrol says there should be no activity before January 1.
Last week, two of old kai’s drivers were arrested when they were pulled over in Ukiah in truck carrying nearly a ton of cannabis.
“They were pulled over for a minor, correctable offense, I believe it was a running light on the truck,” said Seymour. “The driver was pulled out to do a field sobriety test and that’s when we realized it might be an issue and called our lawyers in.”
Seymour says they had all the right paperwork: A license to distribute from Mendocino County, medical marijuana cards, the company’s articles of incorporation, a list of everything in the truck and where it’s from and a map showing the route.”
But the CHP arrested both drivers and issued them citations for possession and unlawful transportation of cannabis.
A CHP spokesman told the Associated Press the men were arrested because transporting cannabis is not legal until January 1.
“What is correct about their statement is that a recreation license is needed to operate in a recreational market on January 1. That is a correct statement. But the industry has existed legally in a medicinal way for years before January first 2018,” said Seymour.
Old Kai is licensed to transport medicinal products.
The drivers showed the documentation to the CHP officers, who took the van anyway.
That was last Friday. It’s now been a week and still no word on the van or the marijuana, which could be destroyed by the CHP, or left to rot.
“I can understand where there’s a gap in the education. What I don’t understand at this point is why a week later we’re still dealing with this situation,” Seymour said.
The California Bureau of Cannabis Control had “no comment.”