Victory! California Cops Agree To Stop Stealing Cannabis Cash From Armored Vans

Was this genuine life, or an outtake from Super Troopers?

Late last year, constable’s deputies in San Bernardino County in Southern California—the biggest county in the United States—stopped armored vans on 3 different events, and got over $1 million in legal marijuana money from them. 

Because of federal restriction and acrossthecountry banking laws, marijuana cannot be acquired with a credit card. So marijuana companies get saddled with substantial quantities of money. They typically depend on third-party business to transportation that cash. 

This actual highway burglary certified as civil property loss. As The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights discusses, the law permits cops to take your home, possessions, or cash if they believe that it’s linked to criminal activity—no requirement to file charges, or even develop regret.

In action, Empyreal Logistics—which owns the vans, and runs in 28 states—sued both the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the federal Department of Justice. Last month, DOJ concurred to return the money. Then, last Friday, San Bernardino Sheriff Shannon Dicus concurred to stop harassing the business, putting an end to the case.

“Empyreal, our monetary organization customers and their state-licensed marijuana consumers run within the law, which is why we selected to bring a legal obstacle to the seizures in San Bernardino County,” Empyreal CEO Deirdra O’Gorman stated in a declaration launched on Friday. “Now that the funds haveactually been returned and after conference with the Sheriff, we are positive that we can continue serving state-legal organizations without future disturbances.”

Cops usage phony declares to take the money

smiling older man with gray hair in uniform next to American flag
Sheriff Shannon Dicus (Courtesy of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department)

As Reason’s Jacob Sullum recorded thoroughly, even however Sheriff Dicus revealed that the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department (SBSD) will relocation forward agreeably with Empyreal and that he “supported” the return of the money, it’s quite apparent that his department did not act in great faith when they took it in the veryfirst location.

The veryfirst seizure tookplace on Nov. 16, 2021, when Sheriff’s Deputy Jonathan Franco stopped an armored van for apparently following a tractor trailer too carefully. At the time, the van included about $700,000 in money from legal cannabis companies. Arguing that he’d recognized “probable cause” that the money was illegal, Franco authored a search warrant, which a judge authorized fromanotherlocation. Franco took the cash, and the department ultimately sentout it to the FBI.

Franco stopped the verysame chauffeur onceagain on Dec. 9, when they “slightly surpassed the speed limitation and toosoon triggered his turn signal.” The haul this time? $350,000.

white van on white backdrop
Empyreal Logistics utilizes lorries like this armored Ford Transit to transportation cannabis money. (Courtesy of INKAS)

Although, in the suit, Franco declares his drug-sniffing pet signaled them to the van, the 

document notes: “Video videofootage from the car does not program the canine alert on the automobile. Instead, it reveals the canine is hardly interested in the car.”

As Sullum reported in Reason, Sheriff Dicus had a huge reward to makesure that the FBI “adopted” the money: His department would get to keep up to 80% of it.

By the 3rd time SBSD stopped an Empyreal van, this past January, the business had stopped transferring cannabis cash through San Bernardino county, and deputies did not take any cash. The report notes that the Empyreal chauffeur asked a deputy why Empyreal lorries were being stopped so regularly, and “the deputy informed him it was ‘political’ however decreased to fancy.”

Separately, in Oct. 2021, a constable’s deputy got over $160,000 from an Empyreal van in Kansas City.

Federal law muddles the formula, however Empyreal stays within their rights

Since marijuana stays prohibited at the federal level, law enforcement undoubtedly needto browse complex legal gray locations. However, these organizations run totally within California law. It wouldn’t take a legal degree to figure that out.

Yet Sheriff Dicus atfirst called the suit “no more than a special-interest crusade and a outright effort to interfere with continuous regional criminal examinations.” 

What were those continuous examinations, you ask? Dicus did not trouble to sophisticated.


Murder altered my mind: Pass the SAFE Banking Act now

The case reveals—once onceagain—that Congress requires to pass the SAFE Banking Act. It’s the just feasible course, brief of complete federal legalization, to a future for marijuana that isn’t completely cash-dependent.

In the meantime, the case in San Bernardino sets an essential precedent, and marks a triumph for the market that’s worth commemorating.

Max Savage Levenson's Bio Image

Max Savage Levenson

Max Savage Levenson mostlikely has the leastexpensive marijuana tolerance of any author on the marijuana beat. He likewise composes about music for Pitchfork, Bandcamp and other bespectacled folk. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. His dream interview is Tyler the Creator.

View Max Savage Levenson’s posts

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