Shortly after Colorado started adult use cannabis sales in January 2014, Skip Stone decided he wanted to create a cool yet functional lockable stash container so his fellow cannabis parents could keep all their ganja goodies safe from their kids.
“Seeing all the gummies and candy bars really helped inspired it,” Stone said, adding that — at the time — the go-to storage option for parents attempting discretion were things like shoe boxes.
His solution — attractive, low-profile, smell-proof, lockable stash boxes in several sizes — hit the mark, and for the past few years Stashlogix products have been heavily featured in the cannabis media space, touted for being exactly what they are; some of the best stash bags out there.
Those accolades would come back to haunt the proven line of products.
In August 2016, U.S. Customs reviewed a Stashlogix shipment being delivered into the U.S. as potential drug paraphernalia, but shortly thereafter they cleared the shipment.
“In October we got that product back,” Stone said. “So that was great, but we decided ‘what do we do to stop this from happening in the future?’”
During the two months their seized product sat in customs, the company ran through its entire inventory, forcing them to hold off on new orders and cancel many existing orders — Stone called it nothing short of a disaster.
In November, their legal team asked for a binding order to prevent customs from seizing the shipments.
“We decided to get out in front of it,” Stone said, adding that — at the time — the company’s website didn’t say anything about cannabis. “We figured people could use it for anything… nobody is out there dabbing tobacco.”
Stone and the rest of the Stashlogix team knew there was always the potential the ruling wouldn’t go their way, but they had high hopes that wouldn’t happen.
Unfortunately for them, it did.
“A couple months went by,” Stone said. “They wouldn’t tell us what they were doing, when they would decide something or even how long they had to decide.”
Stashlogix, still completely in the dark on the status of the seized shipment, was told by their lawyers that the ruling could take up to two years. The company decided it had to go through with two freight orders; one by air and one by sea. The shipments would come in within weeks of the binding order coming down: Stone had been hoping to avoid that exact situation.
Fortunately, the larger order (the one on the boat) was quickly released. The same could not be said for the air freight. After twelve previous shipments making it through, Stashlogix inventory was now sitting in a customs warehouse.
Stone said this was even more surprising because the air freight arrived before the boat.
“The boat freight still passed in April even though the order had already been issued.” he said. “Had we known this would happen we would have shipped it to Canada.”
The air freight order’s total value including product and shipping was $15,000. Stone said the additional cost of cancelling production on items already being manufactured overseas put the total loss (so far) at about $33,000. This doesn’t include any PR campaigns or R&D on the “new lines they’ll need to start producing quickly.”
Customs top cargo lawyer, Lisa L. Burley, argued in the binding order that, despite Stoshlogix lack of pot references on the containers, the odor control accessories and industry-wide acclaim made it pretty obvious what was going on.
With the U.S. Government’s ultra broad paraphernalia laws backing her, Burley argued people were definitely putting a lot of pot in these — using the numerous product reviews (and not really anything else) as evidence.
“In contrast to the depiction set forth on the Stashlogix website, the aforementioned website product reviews, descriptions, and functionality of the accompanying accessories, along with the community’s actual stated use, demonstrates that there exists one consistent and primary use for the Stashlogix storage cases; namely, the storage and concealment of marijuana,” Burley said.
Burley also made a separate reference to the OdorPax that come with a Stashlogix container as clearly being meant to conceal marijuana and suggested that the kit’s UV Glass Jars could conceal marijuana from X-ray machines.
While they hope to get their stuff back some day, Stashlogix is taking it on the chin and moving onto the next one.
“We likely won’t appeal the binding order,” Stone said, adding that while it was “easier to get the business started overseas,” the long-term goal has always been to move production to the U.S. once the company had the proper footing.
Many advocates, including Marijuana Policy Project Director of Communications, Mason Tvert, believe this is one of the dumber moves made by an embedded criminal justice establishment that continues to lose ground in its war on cannabis.
“Surely there are better things the Department of Homeland Security could be doing with its time and resources than seizing empty childproof containers,” Tvert said. “The federal government should be encouraging the use of this type of responsible packaging in states where marijuana is being regulated. They certainly should not be obstructing it: You can childproof a marijuana product, but you can’t idiot-proof a federal agency.”
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