Four Sweet Leaf Marijuana Center budtenders are currently facing felony charges for alleged illegal distribution of marijuana. Their attorney Robert J. Corry Jr. wrote in a court motion to dismiss the cases that the budtenders are immune from Colorado criminal prosecution under Amendment 64.
Multiple licensed marijuana dispensaries were raided on December 14, 2017, by the Denver Police Department. The raid included numerous Sweet Leaf locations that are now closed with notices saying licenses have been suspended.
These marijuana dispensaries are still shut down for allegedly selling illegal amounts of weed. Undercover officers were sold 11 ounces in less than two hours at one dispensary through a method called ‘looping.’
According to the Denver District Attorney’s Office, the Denver Police Department began its investigation after receiving a complaint from a neighbor of one of the Sweet Leaf locations. The neighbor reported seeing several people “making multiple trips each day to and from their parked vehicles, to the store, continuing these ‘loops’ for several hours at a time,” according to officials.
Robert J. Corry Jr. claimed that Amendment 64, the 2012 voter-approved ballot measure legalizing adult-use marijuana sales, establishes threshold immunity from criminal prosecution. He goes on to add that the Colorado Constitution allows for adults to possess 1 ounce or fewer of marijuana in additions to actions such as transferring of 1 ounce or under to another adult as well as “assisting” another adult. Those and other personal rights included in legalization Amendment 64 “specifically immunizes” actions taken by marijuana establishments.
“Accordingly, it is not Colorado law that a given adult, in all circumstances, can never legally possess more than 1 ounce. There are hundreds of reasons why an adult would be legally permitted to possess more than 1 ounce at a given time. But at any rate, nothing in the law imposes any duty — other than checking birthdate on identification — on an employee of a licensed marijuana seller to ‘babysit’ adult customers nor to essentially perform law enforcement functions of ensuring the customers comply with all laws.” – Attorney Robert J. Corry Jr.
Prior to January 1, 2018, “Sales transaction” was not defined in the state regulations. Prior to that date, the regulations stated, “A retail marijuana store and its employees are prohibited from selling more than 1 ounce of retail marijuana flower or its equivalent in retail marijuana concentrate or retail marijuana product during a sales transaction to a customer.”
When the new regulations took effect Jan. 1, 2018 — which included an expanded definition of “single transaction,” imposing daily limits — they did not apply to the Sweet Leaf case, Robert J. Corry Jr. said.
Furthermore, Robert J. Corry Jr. states, the four defendants were harmed by the Denver District Attorney’s Office when they released information to the press, including “unflattering mug shots” and dates of birth.
Robert Corry argued that the law and Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division regulations and positions are clear: This type of matter should be handled via an administrative process, not through the criminal process.
“The DA really ought to have done quite a bit more initial homework before filing these serious felony charges against people (acting) within their official licensed capacity,” said Attorney Robert J. Corry Jr.
Officials for the Denver District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the ongoing case.
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