Stashlogix is a Boulder, Colorado-based startup company in the marijuana sector that wants to make accessing cannabis more difficult—that is, if you are a child or a pet.
The company makes nylon and hemp cases that sort of resemble lunchboxes, except for some key features. The boxes lock on the outside, and on the inside, there are odor controls—the idea being, if you want to be a responsible adult cannabis user, you should figure out some way to keep your weed out of sight and smell.
Sounds pretty reasonable.
Unfortunately for Stashlogix, the cases (like almost every other consumer good in America) are manufactured overseas. In April, the company was informed by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) that the cases constitute drug paraphernalia, and ergo can no longer be imported into the country.
So far, one shipment of 1,000 bags, worth $15,500, was confiscated by CBP at the port of Long Beach, the Daily Camera first reported.
Company founder Skip Stone says the firm is scrambling to find a domestic producer, but in the meantime, we’re subjected to the spectacle of federal officials claiming that a product specifically designed to keep drugs away from people is drug paraphernalia—and the company is on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in fines and lost product.
As CBP spokesman Jaime Ruiz told the Daily Camera, the agency is following DEA guidance. And unfortunately, it appears the government may be technically right.
According to the Justice Department, something is drug paraphernalia (and ergo subject to seizure and, possibly, criminal charges) if it is used to “produce, conceal, and consume illicit drugs.”
To prove that, the feds look at how the consumer will view a product.
So, as the Daily Camera reported, a review on a marijuana website or even a post on Instagram from someone exhorting an item’s value for stash concealment can be enough for an item to be flagged and seized as paraphernalia.
In Stashlogix’s case, the company received glowing reviews on blogs including Stoner Mom and The Weed Blog. Both blogs hailed the bags’ value for responsible adult stoners wishing to keep their weed away from kids; both posts were referenced by CBP in their decision to seize the bags.
It doesn’t matter that either medical or recreational marijuana is legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, including in the state where it was seized, since the federal government cares not at all for state-level legalization—and it certainly doesn’t matter that under the government’s overly broad definition, essentially anything can become drug paraphernalia.
As the Washington Post reported, Stone founded his company after it became evident that Colorado cannabis consumers were doing a bad job of keeping weed away from kids and pets. Though half of marijuana users are parents, only 11 percent of them reported locking up their product, as the Washington Post observed.
Stashlogix says that it was able to receive more than 10 shipments from manufacturers in China over the past two years without issue until August 2016, when a shipment was delayed by Customs for reasons it would not share.
It’s unclear why the company was targeted for enforcement only now, but it’s quite possible the current league of extraordinarily retrograde gentlemen in charge of the Justice Department may have something to do with it.
Stone says he’s appealing the seizures, but in the meantime, he’s had to lay off everyone who worked for him. And manufacturing the cases domestically, he says, would require “reinventing” the design in order for them to not become exorbitantly expensive.
America first, even if it means the kids and the dog can get at your pot.