Federal judge drops hemp company’s case against US Customs and Border Protection

A Washington state hemp equipment manufacturer that sued the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for blocking its shipments saw its case dropped from the U.S. district court docket on Friday.

A federal judge denied Keirton USA’s request for an injunction to prevent the CBP from blocking its imports and backed the CBP’s argument that the U.S. Court of International Trade could hear the company’s claims, Law 360 first reported.

“The CIT has exclusive jurisdiction over any civil action contesting the denial of a protest,” wrote U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly.

Keirton USA, a subsidiary of Canadian engineering firm Keirton Inc., sued the CBP last year for seizing several shipments and calling them drug paraphernalia.

Keirton USA imports products manufactured in China, Taiwan, Japan and Canada.

The company reached a settlement with CBP after Keirton was denied a temporary restraining order.

But in January, Keirton USA claimed Customs agents again seized equipment needed to build a hemp-trimming machine in Blaine, Washington.

The company sued again in district court, rather than filing an administrative complaint with the CBP.

The judge rejected the company’s argument that it would go out of business without the imports and said the CIT could issue the same injunction.

Keirton is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Its subsidiary Keirton USA is based in Ferndale, Washington.