Browsing: Busted

home growFlickr/Mark Eggrole

Government reports recently revealed that over 665,000 pounds of legal marijuana were sold in Colorado last year, but that number hardly accounted for every sale in the state. Although market research shows that Colorado’s marijuana black market has become significantly smaller than the rest of the country’s since retail dispensaries showed up in 2014, it hasn’t evaporated altogether.

Various law enforcement agencies collaborated on a network of raids on illegal marijuana grows in at least five towns and two counties on August 9, as first reported by the Denver Post — and the marijuana seized from the raids could be small potatoes compared to what’s happening on public land in Colorado.

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As of last July, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office Hoppz Cropz prosecution was likely the largest marijuana conspiracy case in the state: thirteen defendants charged with a combined 244 crimes, including racketeering under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, for illegally peddling nearly 200 pounds of cannabis.

Nearly a year later, a hefty 175 of those allegations have been dismissed and ten of the original thirteen people accused, including Dara Wheatley, the significant other of presumed ringleader Joseph “Joey Hops” Hopper, have pleaded guilty to comparatively minor crimes that haven’t resulted in any jail time whatsoever. A document detailing these twists and turns is accessible below.

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CBD products are touted for their healing properties. But even they would have a hard time mending the rift that’s torn apart a Colorado CBD company, which has dissolved amid dueling lawsuits, with one alleging a scheme to funnel more than $1 million to an animal sanctuary in Costa Rica and the other focusing on $300,000 in missing meds and a series of accused co-conspirators, one of whom is named Natalia Swindler.

At the center of this drama is John Merritt, the man behind Full Spectrum Nutrition Inc., a Colorado Springs operation that’s currently in limbo.

cannabis churchLindsey Bartlett

Nearly fifteen months after the 4/20 holiday when founders of the International Church of Cannabis were accused of promoting public cannabis consumption and violating the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act — two misdemeanors that carry penalties of no more than several hundred dollars in fines — Steve Berke, Briley Hale and Lee Molloy are still awaiting trial.

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Plenty of underage tourists who come to Colorado seem to think a bogus identification card will work just as well at a pot shop as it will at a bar. But according to Haley Littleton, spokesperson for the Town of Breckenridge, which has catalogued at least 428 fake ID cases since February 2015 with no end in sight, they’re wrong.

“Our main theory is that people come into town and think, ‘This is great. I can take advantage of this,'” Littleton says. “But it’s not like at a bar, where you can go in, try to order and then give them an ID, and if they just glance at it quickly, you might get a drink or you might not. Marijuana dispensaries are really stringent on fake IDs — and so are we.”

Ben Droz

Fourth-generation farmer Randy Taylor has watched potential income disappear as a hailstorm obliterated plants on the 7,000 acres that he oversees. But having to destroy crops himself is a tougher pill to swallow.

In December, on what he calls “probably some of the hardest days in my life,” Taylor mowed down eighty acres of hemp that had spiked THC levels. The Colorado Department of Agriculture had told the Yuma farmer that his hemp was too hot, above the 0.3 percent THC limit that defines industrial hemp under state law. Taylor’s crop measured at 0.47 percent THC, over the limit by just 0.17 percent.

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Around noon on November 20, 2017, mere hours after Denver Environmental Health announced a ban on the sale of kratom for human consumption in the city, DEH representatives stormed into the 5800 East Colfax Avenue branch of Myxed Up Creations, which had been selling the popular herbal pain reliever, and ordered stock valued in the thousands of dollars to be destroyed on the spot. Michael Gross, the shop’s attorney, who likened the action to “a commando raid,” managed to prevent the supply from being trashed, and now the Denver agency’s own board is allowing the kratom in question to be transferred to Myxed Up’s sister stores outside the city limits after criticizing the way the matter was handled. But as many as fourteen other businesses in Denver weren’t so lucky.

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