Sandra J. Pennecke The Virginian-Pilot
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Sarah and Ron Morton launched a company to help marijuana users stay safe while traveling. They are the founders of "lockable", smell-proof and water-resistant boxes that can hold marijuana while traveling. The boxes are designed to prevent people from being charged with having open containers.
Ron Morton’s expertise in the legal marijuana industry is far from green.
Over the past decade, he’s garnered knowledge from cultivation to processing to dispensing in both medicinal and recreational markets from Colorado to Maryland and Virginia.
So, when Morton and his wife, Sarah Kiah Morton, saw a gray area in Virginia’s new marijuana open container law, they decided to address the issue.
“The law was very specific about if you were to travel with marijuana in your car, you need to make sure it’s in your trunk,” she said. “But, the confusing part about the law is that it said it needed to be in its originally sealed manufactured container.”
The problem is there are no originally sealed manufacturer containers in the current market, and because people may not know the new law, they could easily face a marijuana charge, she said.
“Let’s be informed and responsible,” Sarah Kiah Morton said. “And if you have to drive with cannabis in your car, just make sure you’re locking it up and putting it in your trunk to avoid any assumption of consuming while driving.”
On July 1, Virginia began allowing adults 21 years and older to possess not more than 1 ounce of cannabis for personal use. Retail selling of marijuana in Virginia won’t be legal before 2024. Consumers cannot use marijuana while driving or riding as a passenger in vehicles or in any public place, according to cannabis.virginia.gov.
The same day Gov. Ralph Northam legalized recreational marijuana usage, the Mortons launched their company, Lockgreen, which sells products aimed at protecting consumers when they travel with cannabis in their vehicles.
While the Mortons didn’t invent stashboxes, they designed their own that can appeal to the occasional or regular marijuana consumer.
The Suffolk couple created lockable, smell-proof and water-resistant stashboxes sold in two sizes. The small 7.5 inch-by-6.5 inch box costs $44.99. The large 10 inch-by-8.5 inch box costs $54.99.
Both sizes sport a limited-edition design that commemorates Virginia as the first Southern state to legalize adult-use marijuana. The words “social justice,” “natural medicine,” “economic opportunity,” and “personal freedom” surround an outline of the state.
The business started collecting orders in anticipation of initial shipping this fall with significant customer interest so far, Sarah Kiah Morton said.
Through Lockgreen, the Mortons want to educate the community and provide security.
Longtime cannabis advocates, the entrepreneurs met while students at the University of Virginia. Ron Morton earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Sarah Kiah Morton completed her bachelor’s in sociology.
Both are continuing their studies. She is pursuing her master’s degree from Purdue University in integrated communication and advertising. He is enrolled in the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s Master of Science in medical cannabis science and therapeutics program, the first graduate program in the U.S. dedicated to the study of medical cannabis.
A former employee benefits consultant, Sarah Kiah Morton left her position when the pandemic started so she could be home with her three children. She has served on the Virginia NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) board of directors since 2017.
“I have been involved in educating the community on Virginia’s marijuana laws since then by moderating community forums and town halls,” she said.
She said one of the motivating factors behind the business is that Black people were 3.4 times more likely than white people to be arrested from 2010 to 2018 in Virginia for marijuana possession despite similar usage rates, according to a 2020 American Civil Liberties Union study.
“We want to do whatever we can do to keep people out of getting in trouble,” she said.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.