All About Cannabis Transportation

Cannabis transport includes a unique set of logistical problems. Given the thriving industry and the various state laws across the country, understanding the requirements for the safe and proper transportation of cannabis plants and products is essential for business. Dispensaries, cultivators, and everyone involved in the distribution should be familiar with the proper procedures for transporting cannabis.

Cannabis transportation in the United States is primarily regulated at state and federal levels. A company must always have a legal license when handling any quantity of cannabis products. Make sure you have all the essential documentation at the ready, including patient registration cards, dispensary documents, caregiver licenses, and more. Many states have legalized cannabis on a medical or recreational level. However, cannabis remains illegal under federal law and this applies across state or national borders. As of January 4, 2018, the federal government can prosecute individuals and businesses in these circumstances, regardless of state law. Even as a legal trader, you can be accused of drug trafficking.

In general, open container laws apply to cannabis products, such as alcohol, but the definition of an open container depends on translation. Buds and products should be stored in enclosed, sealed suitcase containers, and in any other enclosed room apart from drivers and passengers. This is the most specific way to protect yourself from these laws, and it is also a good practice to ensure that the products remain safe during transport. The transport of plants is different from the transport of CBD because the plants need to be kept secure to be moved later. Marijuana plants are often transported young, before they bloom. Transport is almost effortless because plant growth accelerates when they bloom, and the root system can make transport more difficult. The bed of a van or truck, preferably with a tarp covering them, provides an efficient way to transport plants.

Agents of facilities that ship medical marijuana are required to print an inventory generated by the state track-and-trace system before shipment of medical marijuana, and prepare a travel plan. The travel plan must come from the facility from which the medical marijuana is being transported and must include the name of the facility agents transporting the medical marijuana, date and time of transport, estimated delivery time, and expected transport route. During transport keep agent identification cards available at all times as well as a copy of the inventory and itinerary in the transport vehicle for the duration of the journey. Make sure the documents can be reached by the driver in the event showing the forms is required. Always have a means of communication between transport vehicles and facilities they visit. Immediately report to law enforcement any vehicle accidents. Report any loss or theft of marijuana. After transport, revise the trip plan to reflect the actual route taken and delivery time. The revised report should be turned in with the rest of the transport records. Any incident of theft or attempted theft of marijuana should be reported to the law enforcement within twenty-four (24) hours of the incident. All necessary transport documents must be recorded and kept for at least five years.

Moving most products from point A to point B is not usually a complex process. Unfortunately, this can be the case for cannabis cultivators, retailers, and manufacturers. One reason is the discrepancy between states where cannabis is legal and the federal government. Federal law still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug and, therefore, bans its cross-border shipment. Second, the inability to bank with FDIC-insured institutions means that cannabis delivery drivers must act as money transporters after the product is delivered. Add these problems to an industry that needs more drivers to speed up product sales, and you have a recipe for mounting traffic violations and federal penalties. Additionally, distracted driving, carjacking, and theft continue to plague cannabis organizations.

Most cannabis operations operate their own small fleet of vans and SUVs. This type of fleet carries its own set of challenges. Fortunately, there are practices established to minimize risk. Maintain a fleet of unmarked vehicles and do not advertise what you deliver. First, always obey traffic laws and drive carefully. Driving unmarked vehicles helps in preventing crime and reduces your driver’s chances of being arrested for suspicious activity. There should be two people in each delivery vehicle. Drivers travel long distances with cannabis products and can come back with hundreds or thousands of dollars in cash. It would be best to have a partner both as a witness and a second pair of eyes. Thieves have been caught following cannabis delivery vehicles after they leave dispensaries or other locations. To combat this threat, instruct drivers to change their routes regularly, avoid using the standard or most direct routes, and to pay attention to other cars on the road, as well as other surroundings. If they’re on the lookout, they’ll quickly notice if someone follows them. Consider a ‘Strong Box’ or another locking device to transport money. Keep cash on hand minimum and hidden when outside the vehicle. Train drivers on basic defensive skills. Train drivers on the company’s policies and procedures if they get robbed or pulled over by the police or other authorities. Use technology to track vehicles and maintain security by recording things in real-time. Transportation industry employers ought to work closely with experienced counsel who are aware of the relevant rules to keep away from fines, penalties, and viable criminal exposure. Ozarks Protective Services is able to offer the counsel and services needed to operate successful transport of cannabis.