Offices belonging to a successful medical marijuana processing and product distribution company were raided by law enforcement recently, but we were successful in convincing a prosecutor to drop the case.
Our client is a Riverside County manufacturer of THC and cannabidiol (CBD) oils, tinctures, lip balm and salves. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant unlike THC, which does have psychoactive properties. The products are widely distributed and even stocked by stores like Whole Foods.
The business is owned by a man who also heads a non-profit dedicated to serving medical marijuana patients. His patients and customers include young children suffering from very serious illnesses.
Search warrants for the client’s business office and manufacturing facilities were served by Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies on April 5 after they received an erroneous anonymous tip that butane was being used in the extraction process. When investigators arrived at the scene, they quickly realized that our client operated in a facility that included state-of-the art equipment to prevent product contamination, and did not utilize any solvents whatsoever in his processing. Rather, he utilized a super-critical C02 extraction methodology and equipment that he engineered himself.
Nonetheless, deputies seized $12,000 in cash, and tens of thousands of dollars in oils, tinctures and salves, and stated that our client was under criminal investigation. The business was forced to shut down for a period of time.
Immediately after the raid I provided the Sheriff’s Department with a synopsis explaining the legality of the operations and explained that the CBD products have minute trace amounts of THC and do not actually constitute “marijuana” under either federal or California law. In fact, when the boxes arrived in the US they are opened and inspected by customs officials, then resealed and delivered to the business.
I also explained the following:
- The THC products are processed and distributed by my client’s medical marijuana collective, operating as a non-profit in accordance with 2008 Attorney General guidelines.
- The workplace is kept in immaculate condition, including a machine that captures spores in the manufacturing process so they do not become airborne
- All products are lab tested before distribution and product labels include required ingredient information to ensure consumer safety.
We submitted lab reports and patient testimonials as well as corporate documentation to support all the claims in my letter.
Despite the evidence, the case was forwarded to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office on May 28 for a filing decision. I notified the prosecutor of the facts of the case and the law, emphasizing the fact that my client’s products do not utilize the illegal butane manufacturing process or any other solvents and that children and adults routinely use my client’s products to lessen the pain of cancer, tuberous sclerosis and epilepsy.
“This is not the normal marijuana case,” I wrote in the follow-up letter. “Instead it involves a man who is genuinely trying to do good work in the safest way possible while also complying with the law.”
Within a week of that letter I had the best news a lawyer can receive: My client was off the hook and the seized items were returned to him.
Below is a photo showing all of the material returned to my client earlier this month.