back to article SEC takes legal action after crowdfunded marijuana investment scheme appears to go up in smoke

US financial watchdogs have launched legal action against a cannabis-related investment scheme said to be the first case involving crowdfunding regulation. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint against three people – named as Robert Shumake Jr, Willard Jackson, and Nicole Birch – and Texan firm 420 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great business plan

    You sign on to the liability of owning the most expensive part, the land, which can be seized from you in a "guilty till proven innocent" asset forfeiture, the biggest liability and risk of the weed business. The grower risks a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, and may also stiff you for the electrical bill and run off with the product.

    Fools and their money may be parted soon, or after a drawn out lawsuit, but parted they will be.

    1. FILE_ID.DIZ

      Re: Great business plan

      Fortunately, the Excessive Fines Clause of the 8th amendment was recently (2019) incorporated under the Due Process clause of the 14th amendment.

      Until that was incorporated, that clause of the 8th amendment did not apply to state and local governments.

      (There are still a few clauses which have not been incorporated, such as the right to a jury trial or the right to be indited by a grand jury, however many states have those clauses in their constitution or through statue. And of course, the last BIG amendment to be incorporated was the 2nd in 2010.)

      The case that led to the Excessive Fines Clause to be incorporated Timbs v. Indiana, was a result of the state taking someone's vehicle for the crime he committed, however - the vehicle was valued greatly over the maximum fine allowed under the law and thus was found unconstitutional.

      Hopefully we'll be seeing a dramatic decrease in successful asset forfeitures in excess of any fines that can be levied.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge



        Hey, if you're that way inclined, check out s3(1) of the UK's Criminal Law Act 1967 for a serious boggle and a disbelieving laugh. Yup, it really does invert perhaps THE fundamental precept of Western civilisation.

        Batman is legal in the UK!

        1. emfiliane

          Re: OT

          Why is this so surprising to you? Some form of citizen's arrest has been legal since at least medieval times in most of the world. How else could you, say, legally tackle someone you just saw glass another, or hold someone you just saw steal from you?

          Batman kind of leaps way over that "reasonable" line most of the time, though....

          1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: OT

            Read it again. In particular, closely examine the first clause.

            Put it this way: stop a British policeman and ask to see his PACE booklet. Get him to show you the section on what force they are permitted to use in the course of their duties. And you will discover that it cites this subsection.

            To watch a period of startlement then growing shock, point out to them that neither this nor any part of the surrounding or supporting legislation narrows the definition of person to police officers. Or even citizens. An American-citizen Batman is fully legally authorised so long as he stands on British soil / within a UK jurisdiction.

            And yes, it is a drafting cockup.

            Almost as amusing a legal drafting bungle as Blair's Parliament Square cockup vs the infuriating anti-Iraq War demonstrator.

            1. General Purpose Silver badge

              Re: OT

              It's not a drafting error. It's a long-standing principle of UK law and older than the police force.

              As for "THE fundamental precept of Western civilisation", do you mean that in ancient Athens or Sparta, everyone stood around watching an assault and waited for the police to turn up a couple of thousand years later?

              1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                Re: OT

                Again: read the first clause. And be aware that headings, preambles, etc have no legal effect in statutory interpretation. There's nothing in the clause (or surrounding legislation) restricting its power of preemptive violence to _prevent_ a crime --citizens arrest requires that a crime has been committed (past tense)-- to police officers.

                Fundamental precept of Western cultures: the citizen gives over the power of taking the law into their own hands, and the power of violence to achieve an end, to the State. The State has the only authority --and a responsibility-- to commit violence in the pursuit of social ends, on behalf of all its citizens, and typically only via specially authorised officers.

                To be clear: vigilantes are forbidden, vigilantism is a crime. In every Western jurisdiction I'm aware of.

                Except in the UK since 1967.


                It IS possible that there is some other separate legislation somewhere which specifically restricts this section. But neither I nor 2 British lawyers I've pointed this out to have been able to find anything. It appears to stand as-is.

                It's not just an aberration; it's an inversion of the law. It's hilarious. (And useful to know. Although I dare say a horrified correction will be slapped over it shortly after anyone actually USES it in a court of law and brings it to official legal attention.)

                1. emfiliane

                  Re: OT

                  No, you're just plain mistaken, you have an absolute bonkers reading of a plain English law and extravagantly incorrect claims about the rest of the world. This is a precept in every common law (ie, current or former British) nation, and every civil law nation I know of (France, Germany, Spain for sure, not sure how many others), a regular precept in nations based on Arabic law systems, and present in the legal codes or traditions of most Asian nations. Quite a few places go far beyond that and effectively legalize *actual* vigilantism, which will land you or anyone else in the UK in prison, even coppers.

                  The only nations that completely outlaw any form of citizen's arrest and immediate defense of self or someone in mortal danger, or "vigilantism" as you so incorrectly put it, are despots who use a personal military to basically enslave their population.

                  Some things are just fairly universal, because the police aren't everywhere at all times.

          2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: OT

            Oh, by the way:

            > [citizen's arrest] How else could you, say, legally tackle someone you just saw glass another

            A common misconception. You are NOT allowed to do this under the citizen's arrest provisions. At least, not in any common-law descended jurisdiction I'm aware of.

            You are allowed to declare to someone that they are under arrest, and are allowed to use reasonable force to prevent them departing before the arrival of a police officer. E.g., holding them or tying them up. But that's it.

            So even knocking someone out to stop them leaving puts you into "nice" territory (legal definition of nice) regarding reasonableness. And if you tackle that glasser, if the attending police officers (or the prosecutors) choose to be or are required to be strict, then the glasser will be up for wounding or GBH, and you'll be up for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

            1. emfiliane

              Re: OT

              This is only true if that person immediately places the glass on the table and surrenders, at which point necessary force is only holding him. You're absolutely incapable of considering the concept that it rarely happens? You do realize that you have to *explain your scenario* if you're going to hold it up as a gold standard.

              Legally, as long as the reasonable belief of immediate violence is present, a proportionate level of violence to end the threat is allowed. It's right there in the law, in plain English, you linked it and you can read it for yourself. The courts constantly uphold it. They come down hard on people who use unreasonable levels of violence or use violence after the threat is removed. Regular people and coppers alike, it applies to both.

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    ... with the SEC alleging that "they diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the offering proceeds for their personal benefit."

    But had they been politicians in virtually every country in the world this would be of no issue at all, members of any party involved would be running around saying that it was OK.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      That's not a joke.

      That's a fact.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Anytime you see "crowd" and "investment opportunity" used together, run the other way.

    If you believe in the wisdom of crowds, you probably get your news from FlakeBook.

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    White collar

    It's interesting that if you get to grow a few plants for your own medical use, you will get raided, given criminal record, probably time and get excluded from jobs - essentially removed from the society.

    But if you get

    involved in selling nearly $2m in unregistered securities
    you'll get
    filed a complaint

    That's how corrupt legal system wreaks havoc in the society.

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: White collar

      "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread."

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think a joint committee should be setup to investigate this.

    1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Need a name. Something that gives a good buzz to it.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        I'll be blunt, I think it will end up in a High Court eventually...

  6. msknight

    I've heard of the war on drugs...

    ...but this takes it to a whole new level.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like