Customs and Border Protection seized 1,000 pieces of merchandise from Boulder, Colorado based company Stashlogix on April 28th of this year. Stashlogix produces lockable bags with odor lock containers that are designed to help store a variety of medications, though they are commonly used to store cannabis. The products are designed to specifically to keep medication out of the hands of children, but Customs and Border Protection seized many of their products because they claimed that they were drug paraphernalia.
Stashlogix produces their bags in China, but have since been unable to import them due to the recent seizure at their port of entry. The seizure cost the company $12,000 directly and required the company to forfeit an additional $18,000 in raw materials as they halted production over the inability to import their products. The seizures and uncertainty about the future of the company have also led to the lay offs of three employees. The bags from Stashlogix look nothing like traditional drug paraphernalia, but instead looks like any compartmented bag. The Stashlogix website also does not mention anything about storing cannabis in the bags, and the founder of the company Skip Stone, has said that his children even store their various collections of toys in them.
A few months ago, however, Stone received an official notification from Customs and Border Protection, which stated, “This is to officially notify you that Customs and Border Protection seized the property described below at Los Angeles International Airport on April 28, 2017.” The agency even noted that the products did not appear to be traditional drug paraphernalia, “standing alone, the Stashlogix storage case can be viewed as a multi-purpose storage case with no association with or to controlled substances,” but that did not stop the seizure of the merchandise. Customs and Border Protection looks beyond simple marketing and appearance of products to determine if it is allowed in the country or not.
The agency particularly pays attention to how it is used by consumers and looks at factors like social media to see how it is being actively used. Customs and Border Protection directly mentioned some specific reviews of the Stashlogix bags online as a reason for their seizure. The reviews, which mentioned using the bags to store marijuana, led Customs and Border Protection to state, “there exists one consistent and primary use for the Stashlogix storage cases; namely, the storage and concealment of marijuana.” The agency also noted the presence of scent absorbing carbon patches in the bag, which could be used to conceal the smell of marijuana.
One interesting factor about this case is that the products were being imported into California, a state that has a legalized medical cannabis market and a developing recreational market. Despite the rules of the state, the federal government still controls imports and in turn can deny products that would otherwise be legal in the state in that they are entering. Stashlogix is also having large amounts of difficulty communicating with Customs and Border Protection on the future of their company and whether their bags will ever be able to be imported again.
Customs and Border Protection has given the company no indication on when they will respond to their inquiries and give them for information on future potential imports. The company is still determining if they will be required to move their manufacturing into the United States. This shows the growing rift between state and federal laws and how the contractions are effecting the industry. The seizure is causing widespread uprise in cannabis industries across the country, particularly because the Stashlogix bags are particularly designed to keep potentially dangerous medications out of the hands of children.