Company Claims Customs and Border Protection Should Allow Importation of Cannabis Processing Equipment

A complaint filed against the United States in the Court of International Trade by Eteros Technologies USA, Inc., a manufacturing company which builds agricultural machines for the cannabis and hemp industries, asked the court to find that imports of these products should be allowed in states which legalized marijuana cannabis paraphernalia. 

The company alleged in its complaints that the United States has illegally blocked importation of its products, specifically, parts for its Mobius M108S Trimmer, which is used to separate the cannabis leaf from the flower. The plaintiff reported that it distributes merchandise to “state-licensed processors of legal cannabis,” and holds a hemp processing license from Nevada, where it is located.

According to the filing, on April 16 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) asked it for more information about the merchandise, and it “timely responded” three days later explaining the purpose and uses of the device.  The plaintiff was issued a second request for information on April 27 asking if it would be used to process marijuana or just hemp, and it responded that the machine could process the plant whether the THC concentration is below .3 percent or not, but that it did not sell the machine in the U.S. market before hemp was legalized in the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. As such, the company reported that it believes that the machine is authorized under U.S. law, and that it does not ask for records from users as to what type of cannabis material is processed through the machine. 

Eteros cited a letter it sent to CBP in response to its second request for information where it cited that Washington State, where it had attempted to import the machine, and multiple other states had legalized marijuana and also that items used for growing and processing marijuana were not considered paraphernalia under Washington State code and so their actions did not breach state laws. 

Regardless of these arguments, CBP determined that as the user guide for the product said that it is “the world’s best cannabis and hemp trimmer” that the company did not intend for it to be used for just hemp but that it is also used for “a product identified under the Controlled Substances Act.” 

The manufacturer asked the Court of International Trade to allow the trimmer to enter the United States, and award it attorneys fees and other court costs. Eteros is represented by Neville Peterson LLP