DENVER (CBS4) – Starting on Friday Colorado’s medical marijuana industry will be more closely regulated as grow operations will begin having random inspections. And CBS4 has learned of a new investigation into how dispensaries advertise.
The minute a stamp is placed on an ad for medical marijuana and it runs through the U.S mail, it becomes a federal issue. While medical marijuana is legal in Colorado, law enforcement agencies are concerned advertising through the mail may not be legal.
The advertising is a concern for drug enforcement officers who are now fielding calls from the community once the ads started hitting mailboxes.
“The questions that are being created by this industry — we’re in territory we’ve never been in before,” Sgt. Jim Gerhardt with the North Metro Drug Task Force said. “Since the U.S. mail is a federal institution and this activity is illegal federally.”
The North Metro Drug Task Force has elevated the question if the mailers are legal or not to postal inspectors, who are now investigating.
“It is legal here in the state of Colorado but that’s not to say in other states it is legal, if it crosses into border issues with Wyoming,” U.S. Postal Inspector Rich Sheehan said. “Those are issues we have to look into and come up with answers.”
Postal inspectors are reviewing federal statues for an answer.
The owner of The Green Solution wouldn’t talk to CBS4 on camera but says he sends out 40,000 mailers a month and that the ads bring in the business.
Drug enforcement agents in Colorado say there are roughly 130,000 marijuana card holders registered who can legally buy pot.
“For someone to send out 40,000 mailers to a small area every month and reap profits from that, it’s concerning to me that there are people who are not properly licensed under state law and obtaining marijuana,” Kevin Merrill with the Drug Enforcement Agency said.
“The courts made the ruling very clear that Colorado’s medical marijuana laws have absolutely nothing to do with federal law. If you’re violating federal law, it doesn’t matter how legal it is in any state,” Gerhardt said.
Postal inspectors say they are now collaborating with the both the U.S Attorney’s Office and the DEA to determine if the medical marijuana ads are legal through the mail.