As reported in the Los Angeles Times on February 14, 2020 (“Cannabis Farm was model for California’s licensed legal industry”), law enforcement in Santa Barbara County confiscated over $2.6 million in cannabis oil and over $620,000 in cannabis cash from prominent local businessman and cannabis operator, Barry Brand. Even though Mr. Brand claimed he was operating largely within local and state regulations, the District Attorney pointed to technical noncompliance issues, giving rise to allegations of criminal conduct.
After three months of extensive litigation, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge T. Anderele ruled in State of California v. Arroyo Verde Farms Inc. (Case No: 20-CV-00590) that criminal laws such as the state Controlled Substances Act do not apply to licensed commercial cannabis activities. Also to be noted, it was found that there was no black market oil whatsoever on the premise, all substances had been clearly tagged with METRC RFID tags and were in the system prior to shipment, and more importantly, prior to seizure.
John Armstrong of the Horwitz+ Armstrong law firm, who was lead counsel for Eagle Bay Enterprises (d.b.a. Procan Labs), remarked, “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.”
Numerous cannabis companies came to support Procan’s efforts, namely long-time distribution leader HARDCAR. Mark Unterbach, CEO of Procan Labs, remarked, “HARDCAR’s assistance was instrumental in assisting us maneuver through the legal roadblock’s that had been placed in the way of our efforts to simply secure the return of our inventory.”
Interested parties may contact Attorney Armstrong at jarmstrong@
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About Procan Labs
As California’s first large scale ethanol extraction company, Procan’s mission is to keep the California cannabis supply chain stabilized and reliable with clean, compliant oil, distillate and Terpenes required by licensed manufacturers. Today, they are a leader in cannabis extraction and a trusted partner with cultivators and manufacturers throughout the entire state.