Company Asks Court to Return Cannabis Money Seized by Government

October 25, 2021 03:00 pm ET

A Pennsylvania-based currency transportation company is asking a federal court to return $166,000 of legal cannabis revenue seized by law enforcement in Kansas. The cash was being transported from Missouri to Colorado in a Ford Transit van owned by Empyreal Logistics when it was stopped on May 18 in Kansas, according to reporting by The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Empyreal Logistics securely transports cash for cannabis dispensaries located in areas with state-legal cannabis programs. Court records indicate that the company’s lawyers have disputed the government’s claims that the money is connected to drug trafficking.

The driver of the van was a Denver-based employee who had been tasked with hauling the cash from Missouri dispensaries to a credit union in Colorado. Upon releasing the driver after the initial traffic stop, law enforcement proceeded to surveil the driver for another day before pulling the van over a second time and confiscating the funds.

The cash seized from the van came from multiple legally operating dispensaries in Missouri. Missouri voters legalized medical marijuana in the state in 2018, but recreational cannabis remains illegal.

Federal prosecutors claim the money is subject to asset forfeiture because of the illegality of cannabis both federally and in the state of Kansas. However, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated in May that the Department of Justice would not waste resources on investigating cannabis operations in states that allow them.

Involved parties will attempt to reach a settlement or other resolution by Jan. 4, when the scheduling conference for the case will take place.

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