This week we are beginning our series on the hazards of the CBD industry, of which there are surprisingly a lot. We will be talking about the ins outs of the industry and the trials and tribulations we have faced on our journey so far. But today we are going to start with a topic that is near and dear to me, dealing with international customs.
In the beginning
The customs process starts innocently enough with an email that reads: Your package has arrived, would you like to take care of the customs clearance yourself? The answer to that question is, yes, no matter how much you don’t want it to be. And no matter what you think you know about the law and the regulations or precedence or any of that fancy-pants kind of language, believe me when I tell you, you know nothing. The customs people will be more than happy to tell you that fact, repeatedly at various volumes depending on how angry you have made them with your presumption and foolishness.
The Customs Office
The customs office is conveniently located at the airport, which is not really all that convenient since it takes like 40 minutes to get there. The atmosphere in the office is a combination of boredom, hopelessness, fear and desperation. The first timers are easy to spot. They are suffused with a naïve childlike energy that is simultaneously hopeful, cautious, adventurous, and, depending on what they are trying to clear, full of fear and paranoia. The poor fools have no idea what they are in for. They will find out soon enough.
The experienced people on the other hand a far more subdued. They come in two categories. Category 1: the people who have actually somehow cracked the code to the Byzantine and often times contradictory regulations and practices that govern the customs clearance racket, they are calm and patient. Category 2: those who have been here before but are still trying to learn how to navigate their way through the treacherous waters that lie ahead.
Different but the Same
The people in category 1 are defined by an aura of confidence and calm. They know that they have everything in order. All of the paperwork is in place. They have been here many times before, importing the exact same items and the clearance process is simply a matter of form for forms sake. There is, however, still an underlying sense of wariness. Precisely because they have been here before and they are all too aware of the kinds of mind-boggling fuckery that the customs officials are capable of.
The people in category 2 also come with layers. They are usually infused with a mixture of fearful caution and hopeful optimism. Followed by a layer of severe frustration, resignation and fatigue. These are people who have been repeatedly subjected to the aforementioned mind-boggling customs foolishness and they have the scars to prove it. The final layer is more like a glowing core. In this core sits a seething burning cauldron of rage that threatens to boil over at the first sign of sustained customs shenanigans.
Feels Like the First time
We all understand that there are rules and regulations that the customs officers conceivably have to follow. The real truth however is that it is up to the personal whim of the customs officer that has been assigned to handle your clearance. There are A LOT of customs officers. So quite literally, every time is like the first time. If your customs officer has a hangover, or is having a bad day, or doesn’t like the look of you, you could be in for a very rough ride.
I have learned this the hard way. The second category of experienced people? That’s me. I am in category 2. I am the literal embodiment of category 2. My name is Chris and this is my story.
Join us next week for Part II of The Last Frontier. In the meantime drop by the shop grab and yourself a tasty CBD treat. We also have our totally awesome CBG coming online soon, so stay tuned!!