Federal officials have seized 1,000 bags from Boulder-based Stashlogix after identifying the product — lockable, odor-blocking containers used to store marijuana or other medications — as drug paraphernalia.
Company officials said the decision will cost them tens of thousands of dollars and force them to bring manufacturing into the U.S. to avoid customs.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, in April sent a letter to Stashlogix which said the bags could not be imported. Two weeks ago, the company received another letter stating that its most recent order had been confiscated at the port in Long Beach, Calif. Stashlogix is pursuing an appeal.
Stashlogix founder Skip Stone said the bags themselves cost $15,500. The company had to forfeit an additional $18,000 worth of raw materials overseas, which also means they need to find a U.S. manufacturer — and fast.
Marijuana is legal for medicinal or recreational use, or both, in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Jaime Ruiz, a public affairs agent with the CBP, said that because it remains illegal under federal law, importing any drug or associated products into the country is prohibited, even if it comes through a port in a state where pot is allowed.
Ruiz declined to comment on the specific case because it is ongoing.
When it comes to drugs and related products, he said, “we’re enforcing (Drug Enforcement Administration) guidance. So if it looks like drug paraphernalia, they’ll stop and inspect it and make the best determination.”
The Stashlogix bags, at first blush, don’t appear to be drug-related. Made from durable fabric in neutral colors, they resemble personal travel kits. The company’s logo is the only insignia; no pot leaves or plumes of smoke adorn the bags.
But Miami-based attorney Denise Celle said the legal process for customs takes into account more than just the appearance of the product. Officers also look at instructions for use of the item, marketing materials and media accounts, and real-world examples of how it’s used by customers.
CBP cited reviews from Stoner Mom and The Weed Blog in its ruling, as well as comparisons to similar products on the market used to conceal or store marijuana.