Charges for 10 budtenders at Colorado retail cannabis chain Sweet Leaf

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Ten employees of a legal Colorado marijuana retail chain shut down by Denver authorities earlier this month face charges for allegedly selling too much cannabis in repeated sales to the same people.

Sweet Leaf is one of the largest marijuana retail chains in the industry.

Police raided the company’s stores Dec. 14, suspending all 26 of the vertically integrated business’ licenses and closing all its Denver shops.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said that five Sweet Leaf budtenders were charged with felony distribution of marijuana and five were charged with misdemeanors based on the amount sold.

Thirteen budtenders were initially arrested. The remaining three have yet to be charged.

Adults are allowed to possess only up to an ounce of marijuana in Colorado.

Police began investigating Sweet Leaf in 2016 after a neighbor reported seeing numerous people entering and leaving one of the chain’s shops multiple times a day.

Police say they initiated undercover purchases after arresting several repeat customers, most from out-of-state, in possession of pounds of cannabis.

The case brought to light the need for more precise language in Colorado’s marijuana enforcement regulations.

New rules go into effect Jan. 1 that stipulate a retail marijuana store and its employees are barred from transferring more than 1 ounce of flower in a single transaction to a consumer.

An email and telephone call seeking comment from Sweet Leaf’s owners weren’t returned.

Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily