The Last Frontier Part II
Last week we shared some information with you about AB45 which recently was signed into legislation here in California. There are some mixed feelings about AB45 but the truth is that its fantastic news for the industry. It means that CBD is totally legal. There is the current moratorium on smokable CBD flower until they are able to figure a tax scheme for it. But in all honesty, that is pretty much illegal and the courts in all likely hood will block the ruling like they did in Texas.
At any rate, at long last there appears to be some sanity entering into the CBD sector. Finally. And its not just California either, the trend appears to be global. The theory is that the world will follow the lead of the US on moving toward a saner approach to reclassification of cannabis and hemp. The world followed the US into the mindless prohibition of cannabis in the 1930s so it only makes sense that they would let the US lead the way out.
The truth of it is, change is in the air and it has even come to the customs people.
Back into the Fray
So here I am, back at the customs office. The place where are people are equal no matter who they are, what company they work for/own, who they know (for the most part) we are all equal in the eyes of the customs officials. Theoretically. Right up until the time when you actually present your data pack to the officials, then all bets are off.
Even the shipping guys, DHL, FedEx, UPS, even these guys feel the pain of the customs gauntlet. They have no skin in the game, no real stake. They are simply there as part of their job. As they are there frequently one would imagine that they get treated with a different kind of respect. A kind of mutual professionalism.
But no. That’s not how customs rolls. I saw a DHL guy who had clearly been there multiple times before and “knew people”. He got knocked back to the waiting room multiple times by different people. After the last one he looked like he might start crying. Six months ago, that was me. Hell, six weeks ago that was me. But not today. Today was going to be different.
Some Are More Equal Than Others
So, everyone is equal in the eyes of customs. But really, some people are more equal than others. The more comprehensive your data pack the better your chance of getting through. The data pack is basically all of the data you need to convince the customs officials that you are not smuggling drugs or rare and exotic animals. It is also designed to show that you are paying your taxes and duties as required. The person with a solid data pack will be treated far more equally than the person who comes in with a random stack of documents that may or may not be required.
It’s All About the Data
The data pack itself is pretty straight forward. It covers basic items such as bill of lading, product invoice, product description etc. There are also some specialty items such as lab tests and other documents that shall remain nameless. The point of all of this is to show customs that everything is transparent and above board. A solid data pack makes everyone feel calm, cool and professional. It gives the customs people something to work with. It also gives them confidence that everything is the way that you say it is.
And the Truth Shall Make You Free
The real truth is that it is all about whether or not the customs officials you are assigned to believe you. It sounds pretty basic and obvious, but when I heard one customs clearance specialist say that to another it was like turning on a light in a dark room. Suddenly everything became clear and well defined. What before had seemed like arbitrary and unnecessarily cruel behavior from the customs people now made perfectly logical sense. They automatically assume that you are trying to fool them or do something illegal. It is then up to you to convince them that you are not. The data is crucial but so is your demeanor. Cool, calm, collected and professional win the day. Nervous, sweaty, shifty-eyed behavior do not.
Next week I will tell you how it went and how this experience changed me both personally and professionally. Until then enjoy the weekend and keep your eyes peeled for the launch of our new CBG products. They are truly amazing.