California Sheriff Will Stop Stealing Cannabis Cash From Armored Cars, Halt Highway Robbery

California Sheriff Will Stop Stealing Cannabis Cash From Armored Cars, Halt Highway Robbery

Empyreal Logistics, a Pennsylvania-based company that transports cash from state-licensed marijuana businesses, reached a settlement with the San Bernardino County, California Sheriff's Department, which had seized more than $1 million from its armored cars.

Because cannabis companies do not have access to banking and financial systems, they are forced to have their days’ intake of cash hauled off to safe storage by transport companies in armored vehicles.

Eager Sheriff And Reverse Highway Heist

San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Shannon Dicus, for reasons best known to himself, ordered Empyreal's vans to be stopped and, well, robbed right on the spot on three occasions, making off with a total of $1.1 million, reported Reason.com.  

Money earned by state-licensed cannabis businesses is not subject to forfeiture under California law. Dicus, obviously a smart cookie, transferred the cash to the FBI, apparently seeking federal "adoption" of the seizures, which would have allowed his department to claim up to 80 percent of the money under the Justice Department's "equitable sharing" program. 

Before that could happen, Empyreal proceeded to sue Sheriff DicusAttorney General Merrick Garland and other officials, arguing that Dicus had exceeded his legal authority and the Justice Department was flouting a congressional spending rider barring interference with state medical marijuana programs. 

Return Of The Loot

In the end, the Justice Department finally agreed to return all of the ill-gotten cash. In a joint press statement, released Friday by Empyreal and Sheriff Dicus's department, the latter hastened to point out that they [the deputies] "are not highway robbers as previously reported in the media." 

Oh, Really? 

In view of the fact that the money was earned by state-licensed cannabis businesses, legally hauled away by a licensed transport company and then forcefully absconded with, highway robbery is quite literally the description of what the sheriffs were doing. Not the mention the Fourth Amendment

Forgive And Hope For The Best

"Empyreal, our financial institution clients and their state-licensed cannabis customers operate within the law, which is why we chose to bring a legal challenge to the seizures in San Bernardino County," Empyreal CEO Deirdra O'Gorman said. "Now that the funds have been returned and after meeting with the Sheriff, we are confident that we can continue serving state-legal businesses without future disruptions."

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Posted In: Attorney General Merrick GarlandBernardino CountyCalifornia Sheriff's DepartmentCannabis CashEmpyreal Logisticsfederal forfeitureFourth AmendmentSheriff-Coroner Shannon DicusCannabisNewsPoliticsMarketsGeneral

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