Cannabis trimming machine maker files lawsuit against Border Patrol for confiscating essential parts

Cannabis trimming machine maker files lawsuit against Border Patrol for confiscating essential parts

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

An agricultural equipment producer for the cannabis and hemp industry has initiated a lawsuit in Seattle. The legal battle alleges that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has wrongly obstructed much-needed cannabis equipment for its Washington state subsidiary. 

Based on details of the lawsuit, Keirton USA claims that border patrol agents intersected a delivery of cannabis equipment parts that were being shipped from British Columbia. The seizing of cannabis machine parts took place in Blaine, Washington.

Filed on Tuesday, February 23, the lawsuit confirmed that Keirton’s cannabis equipment parts were required to build trimming machines. The claimant argues that, as a direct effect of the delivery being derailed, business operations have since halted.

The plaintiff, Keirton, is renowned for manufacturing an award-winning industrial cannabis and temperature trimming machine called the “Twister Trimmer.” Keirton operates from headquarters in Ferndale, Washington, and Surrey, British Columbia.

CBP seizing cannabis imports: Kierton wants Border Patrol to return its equipment 

The arguing company is angry that, due to Border Patrol’s decision to seize cannabis trimming imports, it cannot continue business as normal. Keirton’s owners say that the components were essential for manufacturing vacuums and trimmers specifically designed to accommodate cannabis and hemp businesses.

“Keirton has taken appropriate steps to ensure that its merchandise is used only for lawful purposes,” reads a statement from the company’s lawsuit, which isn’t the first to be filed against CBP seizing cannabis imports. Just last year, a lawsuit initiated against the federal law enforcement agency was succeeded on the plaintiff’s behalf. 

However, the company claims that the agency has since breached its agreement. The most recent court order issued by Keirton requests that CBP proceed to change its policies and permit all cannabis equipment shipments.

Federal cannabis prohibition is costing state-legal businesses millions of dollars

As the cannabis industry continues to grow, Border Patrol units have started clamping down on state-legal commerce transports. In particular, companies operating in California – the largest legal cannabis market in the U.S. – have encountered a great deal of harassment.

Consequently, this has led to state-legal cannabis companies losing out on millions of dollars. For example, on July 1 of last year, officials at a state-licensed San Diego cannabis laboratory called Infinite Chemical Analysis Labs (Infinite CAL) publicly filed federal harassment complaints against Border Patrol agents. 

The basis of Infinite CAL’s argument centered around the federal agency’s seizing of legal hemp samples, which were confiscated at an immigration checkpoint located miles from the border.

Soon after the incident occured, director of the company Josh Swider expressed his anger to reporters. By this point, Swider and his colleagues were unsurprisingly frustrated, considering the fact it was the fourth time that Border Patrol had stopped employees, conducted searches, threatened to arrest and seized plant samples since March of the same year.

“They’ve intimidated my employees and cost me a lot of money,” Swider told Leafly reporters about Border Patrol, which is responsible for stopping drug users, drug traffickers and illicit drugs from entering the United States’ borders. 

The current law stipulates that customs officials can legally intersect U.S. citizens within a 100-mile radius of any international border.