NEWS BRIEF

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

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

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