Marijuana

U.S. Customs Seizes Combination Locked Travel Bags as Drug Paraphernalia

The reason given was that too many people were finding them a useful means of keeping weed away from their kids.

|

A stashlogix case

Skip Stone started Stashlogix in 2015 in large part to help keep marijuana out of the hands of children.

Stone's Boulder, CO-based company began importing discreet, combination-locked travel bags in which people could store their pharmaceuticals, cannabis-infused edibles, and other potentially dangerous products.

His products, he tells Reason, were about "giving parents and people an option to be safe and secure."

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) felt much differently. In April, they issued a binding order informing Stashlogix their lock bags were drug paraphernalia and prohibited them from entering the country. Customs also seized $12,000 worth of Stashlogix's cases coming through the Port of Longbeach, CA for good measure.

The reason given the company for this seizure were two reviews of their product posted on marijuana-themed blogs, Weedblog and Stoner Mom, which praised Stashlogix for the ease and convenience with which their bags kept weed out of the hands of kids.

"These cases are a weight off this mother's shoulders. Knowing my stuff is locked away responsibly helps me sleep easy," reads the review from Stoner Mom. Weed Blog said, "every responsible marijuana user does everything that they can to keep marijuana away from children. Stashlogix's locked containers it goes on to say were an "important safeguard."

It was these reviews, as well as Stashlogix's inclusion of an odor-reducing pack with each container, that led customs to determine that the company's "primary intended use" for its products was linked to drug use, and therefore ran afoul of U.S. drug paraphernalia laws.

The logic offends Stone, because federal authorities are deeming his product "drug paraphernalia" specifically without taking into account the many alternative uses for his product. "Our website doesn't say anything about cannabis on it," he says. "It can be used for anything. I keep a coin collection in it. My kids keep their marble collection in it."

The April order is only the latest is a number of frustrating and contradictory interactions he and Stashlogix have had with Customs, Stone says.

In August 2016, when a shipment of Stashlogix cases was held by CBP, Stone said he sought clarification and got permission for the cases to come into the country. The process, however, included six months of silence and delays from customs officials. Despite repeated calls from Stashlogix employees, Customs would not say if or when they would decide on the legality of the company's product.

"We called them a couple times, asking. Are you going to get back to us on this? We want to make some business decisions based on what customs is going to do," Stone says. "They wouldn't tell us, they wouldn't tell us how long they'd take, they wouldn't tell us how long they had to respond to us."

With no clarification coming, Stone says he decided to go ahead and order more cases from abroad. One order shipped by boat made it through customs without incident. The other shipped by air, Customs seized.

Without the ability to import their product, Stone says, "We've had to lay off all but two of us…the person that managed our bookkeeping and inventory we laid off. The person that did shipping and fulfillment is gone. The person that did sales and marketing is gone."

The company is scrambling to find a U.S. manufacturer, but America's high-cost labor market would require the cases be reinvented to make them competitive.

The government's treatment of Stashlogix is a smaller story in the greater arc of the drug war, a telling example of how prohibition operates on the ground level. In an attempt to keep drugs out of the hands of children, the government has decided to go after a product which by all accounts was pretty good at keeping drugs out of the hands of children.

Meanwhile, Tupperware containers, plastic bags, and aluminum foil continue to pour undeterred into this country.

NEXT: Another Weekend of Protests and Marches, Trump Crashes Jersey Wedding, Mass. State Police Rescue UFO Hunters: A.M. Links

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Coming next week: Gun trigger locks will require registration and a license with a $200.00 convenience fee.
    And trigger locks will be mandatory for anything that looks like a handgun, including pop-tarts.

    What about ‘regular’ briefcases and suitcases with locks?

    WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN???!!!

    1. We’re gonna need the government to come into peoples homes and confiscate all liquor cabinets next.

      Nothing works better than prohibition after all.

    2. I’m thinking that if the name of the company was not STASHlogix, they might be having an easier time. If they were called, LEOLOX (Law Enforcement Officer Locks) they’d probably be getting a ticket tape parade every time they imported a batch, and the same people seizing them now would instead be BUYING them.

      Government is stupid. Most people in government are stupid. And lazy.

  2. So now we know why liquids over 3 ounces are banned – any container over a few ounces can be used as a bong.

      1. My roommate my sophomore year of college had a bong made out of a Bible. Ban Bibles (and all other books for that matter)!

        1. What could be more dangerous than that? Make one out of a Koran.. and hold a lighter to it… 😀

  3. What I find weird is that people seem to think a box that locks is some amazing innovative product. Wow, until Stashlogix came into being I was totally unable to find any products that combined a container with the “lock” thing. Whoa!

    Why is there a market for this? You can find locking boxes in the office supply section of Wal-Mart.

    1. Why do we need 23 kinds of deodorant? Entire stores devoted to containers exist. I think there is plenty of market for containers that are slightly different from things that already exist. And stoners like their cute little accessories.

      1. Except he’s not asking why it exists; he’s asking why people have made a big deal about this particular product as compared to its competitors.

        1. Why is there a market for this? You can find locking boxes in the office supply section of Wal-Mart.

          Sure sounds like asking why it exists to me. The article explains why it got attention from customs.

          1. I assume you’re right, that people (not just Stoners) like their cute little accessories. Whatever floats their boats.

            The sheer banality of the product — It’s a container. That locks — servers to highlight the sheer ridiculousness of the confiscation.

            1. AND the power and stupidity inherent in most government organizations.

        2. I found it humorous that he’s questioning why stoners suddenly became fascinated in something that’s tacitly well known or obvious.

        3. Some random people on the internet, who are definitely not employed by the FBI, said some things in a review about how they use this for pot which means that all of these items are used for drugs.

          That’s government logic for you. I can see how some things, say for example a type of pipe, would make some sort of sense but lets be honest and admit that you can smoke a lot of things out of a pipe and some of those things are in fact legal so even there the logic falls apart.

          The drug war is a massive failure, but too many jobs in law enforcement rely on it and if there’s one thing the government loves above all else it’s their strongarm branches with guns.

          1. People are hardly shy about discussing pot related stuff on the internet. And the company is called “Stashlogic”. I don’t think it’s too unbelievable that the people discussing using the container to keep their weed in are genuine, or stealth marketing by the company that makes it.

            Which is still a completely stupid reason to declare them contraband drug paraphernalia. It’s just a little container that locks.

            1. for kicks:

              verb (used with object)
              1. to put by or away as for safekeeping or future use, usually in a secret place (usually followed by away):
              The squirrel stashes away nuts for winter.
              noun
              2. something put away or hidden:
              a stash of gold coins buried in the garden.
              3. a place in which something is stored secretly; hiding place; cache.
              4. Slang. a supply of hidden drugs.

              Origin of stash
              1775-1785
              1775-85; blend of stow and cache

              Like Betamax, sadly, the superior combination of “cachow” lost.

              1. Relaunch product line with new name… “CacheLogic.” Let the feds go crazy again.
                Cloward-Piven them into oblivion!

      2. I’m not saying they were right to confiscate the containers or that Stashlogix should give their product a go — more power to them.

      3. And 48 brands of toothpaste? All “mint” flavor, no less… every time a brand tries something different, like, say, orange or citrus flavor, it lasts about 3 months then it’s back to 3 shelves of nothing but mint flavor again.

    2. Aren’t you stoners supposed to secure your stash in a hippie made wooden puzzle box you bought in the parking lot of a Grateful Widespread Phish concert?

  4. Proposed revised second amendment;

    The occasional horsewhipping or lynching of an obnoxious government stooge being necessary for the security of a free people, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    1. +1 lynch mob

      1. “A riot ist an ugly ting. Unt, I tink it ist chust about time dat we had vun!”

  5. I keep a coin collection in it. My kids keep their marble collection in it.”

    You aren’t fooling anyone with this Ward Cleaver act, Scarface; we’re on to you!

    “We called them a couple times, asking. Are you going to get back to us on this? We want to make some business decisions based on what customs is going to do,” Stone says. “They wouldn’t tell us, they wouldn’t tell us how long they’d take, they wouldn’t tell us how long they had to respond to us.”

    Children’s lives have been saved, and that’s all you need to know.

    1. Need FOIA inquiry for them to show exactly how many children’s lives have been documented as having been “saved” as a result of their actions.

      Cloward-Piven, again!

  6. The company is scrambling to find a U.S. manufacturer, but America’s high-cost labor market would require the cases be reinvented to make them competitive.

    Jumpin’ Donald Trump on a cracker you had to phrase it that way. It’s summertime, the kids are out school. put them to work a day each week for $2/hour and don’t feed them until they do.

    /dad of the year

    1. Pretty sure that foreign kids only cost a few pennies a day, and they’re orphans so no one ask’s a lot of questions when one of them goes missing during the manufacture process!

      /polishes his monocle.

  7. My takeaway from this article is that U.S. Customs thinks kids should be able to steal their parents’ weed. Is that incorrect?

    1. I think they are concerned that Junior Agents won’t be able to rat on their parents if they can’t get into their stash.

    2. Yeah, this is way up into Catch-22 territory. A favorite argument of the Weed Warriors is that legalized pot products might get into the hands of our dear childrens, yet a product that’s apparently good at keeping the kiddies out of mom & dad’s stash is banned as drug paraphernalia. Heads I win, tails FYTW.

  8. Is there anything actually illegal about a locked container? If not, let them in!

    1. *** holds up poorly-written sign ***

      THEIR R NO ILEGAL PEPLE OR CONTANERS !!

      1. #BRINGBACKOURBOXES

      2. OCCUPY LOCKED CONTAINERS!!!

  9. Stashlogix’s inclusion of an odor-reducing pack with each container … led customs to determine that the company’s “primary intended use” for its products was linked to drug use

    Oh, well, Febreze was nice while it lasted.

  10. Skip Stone

    Heh.

  11. Better that kids get into their parents stash and end up potentially being taken away by CPS than allow stoner parents access to a product that can keep that from happening, I guess. Besides, if parents who use the Devil’s Weed are able to behave responsibly and keep their stash away from their children, that might undermine the narrative that all pot smokers are dirty, no good, irresponsible slackers who deserve to have their children taken away by CPS.

    1. Eddie, have you even looked for a job today?

      1. Did you bullshit last week? Did you try to bullshit last week?

  12. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5? That’s amazing! I’ve got the same combination on my luggage!

    1. Oh, shit. There goes the planet.

      1. ‘What’s the matter, Colonel? Chicken?’

        1. You blew the joke by omitting the Saunders.

  13. So a Federal Agency takes it upon itself to define what is materially no different from any other locking briefcase device as “drug paraphernalia” and to confiscate it on site. The company itself does not overtly promote it as a means to hold contraband, just anything that you wouldn’t want your children getting into [like RX pain killers, or heart medications…] but a the trolling of a couple of “marijuana blogs” lead to this conclusion.

    This increasing tendency of regulatory agencies to just make it up as they go along never ceases to amaze me. And yet we seem to have so little recognition of this state of affairs in our country. That concerns me even more.

    1. But without clear regulations, it would be like the Wild West out there!

    2. And they are really inconsistent about it too. There is tons of much more obvious drug paraphernalia being imported from China all the time.

      1. All of that Chinese stuff is ok because it’s made by the children. Have a heart and think of the children.

    3. The company itself does not overtly promote it as a means to hold contraband, just anything that you wouldn’t want your children getting into [like RX pain killers, or heart medications…] but a the trolling of a couple of “marijuana blogs” lead to this conclusion.

      The Constitution needs a Rule 32.

    4. I see this all the time in medical devices, drugs, pesticides, and, recently, dietary supplements. I had to do an analysis of why a bunch of companies got warning letters from FDA about their dietary supplements based on their imputed uses, when the statements being made about them were not materially different from their competitors’. Conclusion: none. If everyone tried to stay within the rules, it would be impossible to do biz, but why some are singled out as violators is a mystery.

  14. Do you have a paypal ? in the event if you have you can add an extra 1400 /week to your revenue just working on the laptop a couple of hours a day. check out this site… http://www.ezycash5.com

  15. It was these reviews, as well as Stashlogix’s inclusion of an odor-reducing pack with each container, that led customs to determine that the company’s “primary intended use” for its products was linked to drug use, and therefore ran afoul of U.S. drug paraphernalia laws.

    And, they’re right.

    Obviously.

    Nobody’s fooled by “coin collection”.

    The law is the problem, not the fact that it obviously applies to this product, which nobody is remotely fooled into believing is not “primarily intended” for anything else, from the name on down.

    It’s a stupid law, and the drug war should end yesterday.

    1. What he said.

      If you didn’t intent it to be used for the purpose of hiding pot, you wouldn’t have named the product the way you did.

      But the law is idiotic, as many laws like this are.

      I remember the ludicrous raid on Tommy Chong’s bong company. Because of the drug war, colorful glass cylindrical sculptures are illegal. Which is just stupid. It is a shaped piece of glass. It cannot hurt anyone.

      In this case, the product is functionally identical to any one of dozens of products found at luggage and office supply stores. But it is scary and illegal because it alludes to pot.

      Or reaching further back, I was living nearby when the “community standards” raids of the Meese era were going on, and the local AG raided Adam and Eve in Carrboro NC, a supplier of sex toys. They confiscated illegally shaped pieces of rubber. I was convinced by this behavior that we are functionally insane. The present case merely confirms this long-held conclusion.

  16. Look out, Samsonite, your warehouses might be emptied by the Feds soon, too! You DO sell containers with combination locks, don’t you? For shame!

    Oh, and btw, for kids frustrated by some combo locks, DO NOT DO ANY RESEARCH ON THE WEB!
    For example,

    https://candelescent.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/
    how-to-open-your-samsonite-tsa-luggage-
    lock-without-the-combination-code-lifehack/

    (make that one line…)

    OK? Do NOT GO THERE!

  17. Never underestimate a bureaucrat’s contempt towards anyone who is having any fun.

  18. Presumably other brands of combination-locked cases are unaffected, just because they weren’t reviewed in such a manner.

  19. Don’t tell anyone, but the combination is always 4-2-0.

  20. I can think of a hundred different legitimate uses for this product. Stupid Feds, who haev NO authority over what we do/do not put into our bodies, are simply trying to gain then distribute the product into the marketplace. WHY do Oregon voters take it upon themselves to return such idiots to public office?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.