Denver wiped itself clean of Sweet Leaf marijuana stores today, July 5, after Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses executive director Ashley Kilroy revoked all of the dispensary chain’s business licenses within city limits. The decision was somewhat expected, as city hearing officer Suzanne Fasing recommended the same move in April after a five-day hearing over the fate of the company’s licenses.

Sweet Leaf held 26 medical and recreational marijuana business licenses in Denver that covered seven dispensaries and several cultivations and infused-product manufacturing centers. The company was one of the state’s largest dispensary chains until eight of its stores in Denver and Aurora were raided by the Denver Police Department and various enforcement agencies in December 2017 after a year-long investigation into alleged looping, or selling unlawful amounts of marijuana to customers. Eighteen budtenders were arrested in connection with the investigation, although none of the company’s owners or management have been charged.

Under the language of Amendment 64 at the time of the sales in 2016 and 2017, a customer was only allowed to buy one ounce of marijuana at a time (two ounces for medical patients). The company and its legal representatives argued that the limit applied per transaction and not per day, but a statement by the state Marijuana Enforcement Division in May 2017 informed marijuana licensees that selling more than one ounce to a customer on the same day was illegal, and that was reiterated to Sweet Leaf in an MED email in August 2017, according to Denver city attorneys. Like Fasing, Kilroy felt Sweet Leaf was undermining the regulatory framework.

A sign at Sweet Leaf’s Walnut Street dispensary announces the store’s license suspension. on Thursday, December 14.

Thomas Mitchell

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