Cannabis Funds Seized Crossing State Lines

by Alan Hanson

Approximately $165,000 of medical marijuana proceeds were recently seized in Dickinson County, Kansas. A respected cash management company, Empyreal Logistics, picked up cash from several Kansas City, Missouri medical marijuana dispensaries and was delivering it to a credit union in Colorado when it was seized. The Empyreal Logistics was not charged in the incident.

Reports indicate that the Empyreal vehicle was pulled over the day before on Interstate 70, close to the town of Abilene, Kansas. In that stop, the sheriff’s deputy learned that the van was traveling to Missouri to pick up the cash from medical marijuana dispensaries. The van was then placed under surveillance, and the DEA agent that confirmed the van stopped at several medical marijuana dispensaries. The following day, while enroute to the credit union, the van was again stopped by the Dickinson County sheriff’s department. A drug sniffing dog was called in and marked that the scent of marijuana was detected. Several bags of cash were then seized. Kansas is one of the few remaining states that does not have a medical marijuana program.

The U.S. Attorney’s office for Kansas filed a civil asset forfeiture case, claiming that the cash is subject to seizure because of alleged violations of federal laws against manufacturing and distributing drugs. Empyreal’s attorney is arguing that cannabis is legal under Missouri law and that the activity is at least tacitly allowed under federal law. A federal judge has set a hearing for January 4.

An interesting side note, $72,000 seized in a 2017 drug bust disappeared from the Dickerson County Sheriff’s Office. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation investigated the incident, but the investigation was closed in 2019 without criminal charges filed or recovery of the funds. The current Sheriff was elected in 2021.

Dickenson County is located approximately 150 miles west of Kansas City. The county seat is the town of Abilene with a population of 6,460. Abilene is the birthplace of President Dwight D. Eisenhour.