Richard Wilkinson, 38, of Damascus was stopped in Lincoln, Nebraska, for following another vehicle too closely. The officer who stopped the van smelled weed, and indeed found 1.1. million worth of product in the back of the UHaul: 25 pounds of cannabis extract, sealed packages of marijuana, vials of hash oil, and 3,500 seeds. Wilkinson owns Rich Extracts, a Clackamas business that’s licensed to process and sell cannabis extract. Also in the car was John E. Carlston of Cranston, Rhode Island; the two were apparently en route to a state where medical marijuana is legal, unspecified in reports.
Wilkinson was charged with possession with intent to distribute, while Cranston was charged with abetting those crimes.
Come on, guys! This is exactly what we don’t need with Attorney General Sessions breathing down the cannabis industry and community’s collective necks. He’s looking for any reason to say that the industry isn’t complying with rules set up by the federal government that protect states’ rights to legislate cannabis how they decide. One of those agreements is that states will prevent black market sales and from cannabis leaking across state lines into places that haven’t legalized.
Though this crime is unique, there is at least one other known instance of a licensed Oregon producer being arrested for illegal export this year, and these are serious issues that could have ramifications well beyond one person’s business or rap sheet. Just earlier this year, Sessions sent a threatening letter to Governor Kate Brown with allegations that the state wasn’t complying with the Cole Memorandum, an inclusion in budgets that prevents the DOJ from allocating funds to prosecuting cannabis-related offenses in states that have legalized–unless the states don’t comply with certain guidelines. One of those guidelines calls for states that have legalized cannabis in some form to prevent the diversion of cannabis product to other states–if we’re not careful, something like this could get attention and more threats from the federal government.
While we’ve all got to hustle, the actions of individuals still reflect on the industry as a whole, and could effect the precarious situation between states and the federal government. Think big next time you’re trying to decide if you should illegally export product.