WA grower loses permit after allegedly sending marijuana to Texas

Washington state regulators shut down El Rey de La Kush, a Riverside-based cannabis grower, for allegedly sending marijuana across state borders.

The state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) suspended the Okanogan County Tier 1 producer on Monday, effective immediately.

According to a release from the LCB, marijuana products from El Rey De la Kush were allegedly being diverted to Texas, where marijuana is illegal.

Company officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

In states with a robust, mature cannabis market, overproduction and low prices can lead growers to seek out opportunities in the illicit market to sell product for higher prices.

But such out-of-state sales endanger the entire marijuana industry as federal authorities have long maintained that diversion to other states is strictly prohibited.

The Wenatchee Police Department investigated El Rey de La Kush after discovering that 4.3 pounds of marijuana was shipped from a residence in Wenatchee via UPS.

The police searched the residence and found approximately 620 pounds of marijuana bearing LCB traceability tags, according to the release.

“The blatant disregard to follow the laws established by the state of Washington for a safe and regulated marijuana market warrant the emergency suspension pending cancellation of this license,” the LCB noted in its release.

The company’s license will remain suspended for a period of 180 days, during which the LCB will pursue permanent revocation.

The suspect in the case, Brandi Clardy, is directly affiliated with El Rey De La Kush and listed as “Other” on the license. The licensee for El Rey De La Kush, Juan Penaloza, died in July 2020. Clardy has been operating the business since Penaloza’s death.

According to the release, Clardy admitted during an interview with the Wenatchee Police Department to unlawfully removing marijuana from the licensed premises for the purposes of distributing it out of state.

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