Two Months After CO Raids, Businesses Struggle to Recover

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Two months after federal agents raided medical marijuana businesses in Colorado, many of the businesses that were targeted have reopened. But they are struggling to get back to business as usual.

According to a Denver Post report, of the 15 cultivation facilities and retail shops targeted in the November 21 raid, most have reopened, however they are operating at a smaller scale than before.

The primary target of the raid, VIP Wellness, reopened one of its stores on December 11 after it purchased wholesale marijuana from other dispensaries. Two of VIP Wellness’ other dispensaries remain closed, however.

But business owners reported having lost substantial cash due to the raids. One owner, Lazlo Bagi, estimates he lost nearly $1 million in marijuana when federal agents seized the contents of his cultivation facility, and thousands more in technology costs when agents took his computer system. He said the financial losses forced him to lay off 40 employees.

The manager of another raided dispensary estimates the raid took $50,000 worth of inventory.

And when Bagi applied for a recreational marijuana license with the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, the agency rejected his application. The Division said it may also sanction Bagi’s businesses for violations of the state’s medical marijuana ordinances.

Federal and state agencies have not provided specific reasons for why certain businesses were raided. The Department of Justice has not arrested any of the dispensary owners or employees targeted in the raid. The only arrest, so far, is of a 49-year-old Colombian national named Hector Diaz.