While one of the goals of legalizing cannabis is to drastically reduce the number of people arrested for possession of the plant, it unfortunately can’t put an end to all arrests. Though there are still crimes related to marijuana, especially illegal sales and transportation, not all arrests fall into perfect black and white categories, as is the case with two former California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers who were arrested after a traffic stop by current CHP.
“It appears the CHP will stop at nothing to disrupt the lawful and legal transport of items involved in the medicinal cannabis industry,” Barry and Clemann said in a press release.
Rich Barry and Brian Clemann – the former CHP officers – now own Wild Rivers Transport, which is a licensed cannabis transport business. At the time of the arrest they weren’t transporting cannabis, but were simply collecting a payment for cannabis oil when they were stopped. A police canine detected cannabis and the vehicle was searched.
After identifying themselves as prior CHP officers the pair found themselves being arrested for suspicion of illegal possession of concealed firearms and possession of more than $100,000 derived from the unlawful sale, possession for sale, transportation or manufacturing of a controlled substance.
CHP spokeswoman Jaime Coffee said in an email interview that “in order to legally transport cannabis in California for commercial purposes, a person must possess the appropriate (Bureau of Cannabis Control) license and comply with the BCC administrative regulations.”
What this means is that Barry and Clemann did nothing illegal, since they are a licensed distribution business and they have said that they carried their license from the Bureau of Cannabis Control.
This arrest appears to have no basis. The only issue appears to stem from the fact that the CHP officers seem to have mistaken their identification as “prior” officers and instead heard “retired” officers, according to a press release where they were accused of calling themselves retired police officers. However, even at that, the arrests are for cannabis-related crimes that they were not even committing as they are a licensed business.
Kumin, the attorney representing Barry and Clemann, said in an email interview that “the fundamental issue here is whether the CHP is going to follow the will of the voters of California and the Legislature and stop cooperating with federal authorities in the ongoing federally instigated war on cannabis.”
The pair are suing the California Highway Patrol in San Francisco Superior Court, where they are hoping for a ruling that directs state and local governments not to interfere with the legal distribution of marijuana.