Colorado trafficking case may bode ill for marijuana industry

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A Colorado business owner with 14 company licenses and a former officer of the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division have been indicted in connection with a black market cannabis trafficking ring, potentially fueling anti-cannabis moves by industry opponents.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Colorado case in his letter requesting that Congress not renew a federal law that prevents the Department of Justice from spending federal funds to interfere with state MMJ laws and businesses.

The case, which includes 16 indictments, centers on a huge MJ trafficking operation that allegedly used legal businesses as a cover in Colorado, the Denver Post reported.

The trafficking operation was led by Michael Stonehouse, who allegedly used companies owned by businessman Scott Pack – Harmony Green and HGCO – and former state regulator Renee Rayton to shield the illegal operation from investigators, according to the Post.

“Drug traffickers already cultivate and distribute marijuana inside the United States under the guise of state medical marijuana laws,” Sessions wrote to Congress in May. “In particular, Cuban, Asian, Caucasian and Eurasian criminal organizations have established marijuana operations in state-approved marijuana markets. The individuals in these organizations often find a place for themselves within state regulatory systems.”