BOULDER, Colo. -- Boulder’s Stashlogix, a company that produces lockable, odor-blocking containers to store marijuana and other medications, is out tens of thousands of dollars after U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized a product shipment.
Skip Stone saw the need for his product, so he quit his civil engineering job and created Stashlogix.
“It’s really a pretty versatile product that we make,” Stone said. “It’s a locking storage case designed for home use and storage.”
Stone calls it a multiuse product and acknowledges it can be useful for marijuana storage.
“We say it’s thoughtful, secure and discreet,” he said. “In Colorado, it’s legal to consume cannabis. In addition to cannabis, there are a lot of other pharmaceuticals and hazardous things that kids need to be protected from.”
Stone said the startup was doing great. In a year and a half of existence, it had 12 successful import shipments with evidence of U.S. Customs inspections.
“It says examined by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol,” Stone said while showing a box from a recent shipment. “They looked in the box and opened one of our products. They saw this is just a storage case to keep things locked and safe. So they released it and shipped it to us.”
But in April, at the same time a shipment made it through one U.S. Customs port, an air-freight shipment with 1,000 bags was seized at Los Angeles International Airport.
“They referenced some people that did reviews of our product that said this is designed to keep kids safe from marijuana,” Stone said while reading the seizure notice from U.S. Customs.
“Because of that and some other reviewers that said this is a good product for the responsible cannabis consumer, (U.S. Customs) said because of that your product is drug paraphernalia and you’re not allowed to import into the country.”
“The Trade Secrets Act prevents U.S. Customs and Border Protection from disclosing information about the seizure at issue and 21 USC and 863 calls for the seizure and forfeiture of drug paraphernalia," U.S. Customs said in a statement.
Stone said it was a shock to them because several other shipments had made it through U.S. Customs just fine.
“The laws are interpreted however somebody wants to interpret it,” Stone said.
In August, one shipment was held up in customs, while authorities looked at it as potential drug paraphernalia. They ultimately decided it was not and the product was ultimately released for shipment.
Stone says Stashlogix then asked U.S. Customs how it can avoid the delay going forward, and it was told to submit a binding order because it is a “pretty nebulous” product that could be used for anything.
Stashlogix got a lawyer to submit a binding order, and six months later, it was denied.
The company said it can no longer ship its product from overseas, and is faced with getting the business up and running in the U.S. But for now, business has taken a turn for the worst.
“It’s tens of thousands of dollars,” Stone said. “We’re a startup company. We’ve laid off everybody. We’re down to just my partner and I. We’re trying to survive and get products made in the U.S.”