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US, Importer Reach Settlement on Goods Seized as 'Drug Paraphernalia'

The U.S. and importer Root Sciences struck a settlement in a case on whether Root's cannabis crude extract recovery machine imports should be seized as "drug paraphernalia," the importer said in a March 7 brief at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Under the settlement, CBP will release the merchandise to the plaintiff and Root will end its suit, according to the consent motion to voluntarily dismiss the appeal (Root Sciences v. United States, Fed. Cir. # 22-1795).

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John Peterson, counsel for Root, confirmed that the goods are being released for consumption in the U.S. and that the settlement was based on the Court of International Trade's decision in Eteros Technologies USA v. U.S. In that case, the trade court ruled that the U.S. cannot seize or forfeit imports that are federally deemed "drug paraphernalia" but whose delivery, possession and manufacture were made legal at the state level (see 2209210034).

Root filed the case after CBP seized one of its cannabis crude extract recovery machines in California. The U.S. successfully moved to dismiss the case at CIT, arguing that the trade court does not have jurisdiction to hear cases on seized goods but can hear suits on excluded goods seeing as there was a protestable decision (see 2110070022). Root appealed to the Federal Circuit, where the company issued an informal proposal for negotiations, resulting in the settlement.