Sweet Leaf’s Denver downfall complete: City takes away 26 cannabis business licenses

(This story has been updated from an earlier version to include additional information about the case and Sweet Leaf’s other locations.) 

Sweet Leaf, once one of Colorado’s largest marijuana retailers, is being stripped of all 26 of its retail and cultivation licenses in Denver because of an alleged illegal multimillion-dollar sales scheme.

Denver Department of Excise and Licenses Executive Director Ashley Kilroy issued the decision Thursday, ordering Sweet Leaf to destroy its marijuana products within 15 days.

Kilroy agreed with Denver administrative law judge Suzanne Fasing that Sweet Leaf engaged in an illegal “looping” scheme that allowed customers to buy recreational and medical marijuana multiple times a day.

She also wrote the evidence supported Fasing’s conclusion that Sweet Leaf owners directed the scheme.

Kilroy explained in an emailed statement to Marijuana Business Daily that Sweet Leaf’s “illegal actions undermine the entire regulatory framework” of the legal marijuana industry in Denver and Colorado.

Sweet Leaf also has locations in other Colorado municipalities – Aurora, Federal Heights and Thornton – as well as in Portland, Oregon.

A Sweet Leaf owner didn’t return a phone call and email seeking comment, and the company’s attorney declined comment.

In its objection to Fasing’s recommendation, Sweet Leaf claimed that the administrative law judge had created facts “out of thin air,” allowed inadmissible evidence and reached erroneous conclusions.

No charges have been filed against Sweet Leaf co-owners Matthew Aiken, Christian Johnson and Anthony Sauro, but “this is still very much an ongoing and active investigation,” Ken Lane, spokesman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, wrote to MJBizDaily.

More than a dozen Sweet Leaf budtenders were charged with misdemeanors or felonies.

Three felony cases remain active, according to Lane. The other cases have been dismissed, subject to the defendants completing community service ranging from 100 to 200 hours each.

The city’s decision could be appealed to Denver District Court.

6 comments on “Sweet Leaf’s Denver downfall complete: City takes away 26 cannabis business licenses
  1. Mark on

    No business is sustainable without strict adherence and full commitment to compliance. Not just talk but actual compliance.
    This is the downfall of many …even if successful, profitable and growing exponentially.
    Take a lesson from many regulated industries; don’t be compliant and you will be done. Whether you been existence for a year or 30 years.

    Reply
    • Ma Dang on

      there are NO gods only dogs, it was just a scary bedtime story. Cannabis evolved as man did – over time due to natural selection based on environmental influence, NOT divine intervention.
      If you talk to church goer’s their ‘God’ did NOT put cannabis on this earth for human consumption, but as a trial to see if you were ‘good or evil’.
      Just ask Jeff Sessions ‘a true believer’.

      Reply
  2. Ma Dang on

    Greed got a lot of people rushing to this business and greed will cause them to be recused from it as well. You can not regulate honesty or integrity, only remove those that would seek to defraud the public. I have to say well done, but why have no charges have been filed against Sweet Leaf co-owners Matthew Aiken, Christian Johnson and Anthony Sauro ? If they’re guilty enough to shut down, then they are guilty enough to prosecute for fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion at least. Why pick on the employees who were doing what they were told to keep their jobs, come on pres. trump save their jobs (give em a pardon).

    Reply

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