Leading cannabis manufacturer in California, Procan Labs, announced its victory in a monumental lawsuit against the state of California.
The Los Angeles Times reported on February 14th, 2020 that Santa Barbara County law enforcement confiscated over $2.6 million in cannabis oil as well as over $620,000 in cash from Barry Brand, a well-known local businessman, and cannabis operator. Brand is a longtime Gerbera daisy grower and shifted to cannabis. Brand is a prominent advocate in the cannabis community dedicated to helping develop marijuana policy, even hiring lawyers, lobbyists, and communication firms to support his efforts. Brand maintained his position that he was operating legally, but the District Attorney highlighted technical noncompliance problems that ignited the belief that Brand was acting criminally.
The litigation lasted for three months, and Judge T. Anderele ruled in the state of California that criminal laws such as the state Controlled Substances Act do not apply to licensed commercial cannabis activities, such as Brand’s operation. It was also confirmed that there were no illegal cannabis oils of any kind. All substances and products found on the premises were correctly identified with METRC RFID tags and in the system prior to shipment and seizure.
John Armstrong representing Horwitz+ Armstrong law firm was lead counsel for Eagle Bay Enterprises (d.b.a. Procan Labs). He said, “With millions of dollars at stake, licensed cannabis operators should not be at risk of losing their business because police mistake lawful cannabis operations for illegal black market activities. California established the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) and empowered it to support and regulate legal cannabis activities, to the exclusion of heavy-handed law enforcement regulating such activities. This decision shows that our courts will side with the cannabis industry when provided evidence of good faith efforts to comply with state regulations. We would like to thank CREC Compliance for its assistance in verifying legal compliance by Procan. CREC’s help was invaluable in securing the eventual positive result.”
Many cannabis brands came to the defense of Procan, namely longtime distribution leader, HARDCAR. “Mark Unterbach, CEO of Procan Labs, remarked, “HARDCAR’s assistance was instrumental in assisting us maneuver through the legal roadblocks that had been placed in the way of our efforts to simply secure the return of our inventory.”
This is a big win for cannabis businesses not only in California but nationwide.