DENVER (CBS4) – Seven retail marijuana shops have been busted selling pot to customers under 21.
Investigators with the Denver Police Department in partnership with the Marijuana Enforcement Division went to dozens of retail shops for an age compliance operation last Friday.
Video surveillance from inside the Redeye Releaf Shop shows a clear sale being made to two men. One of them is an undercover Denver police officer. The other is a 20-year-old police cadet. The cadet provides his actual age on a form when walking in and even hands over his real identification card, which because he is under 21 is vertical.
Ryan Fowler is the president and owner of Redeye Releaf Shop.
“It’s very clear that we let the community down and we did not follow protocol,” Fowler said.
Fowler says watching the video footage of his now former employees breaking the law is embarrassing.
“As a business owner and a parent I was disappointed on both ends of that,” he said.
Thirty retail shops were checked during the operation. Seven of them, including Fowler’s, sold to someone under 21 years old
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Marijuana Enforcement Division Director Lewis Koski says the recent check drops the compliance rate down to 92 percent.
“Even though that might sound like a high rate, this isn’t an area where we can afford to be complacent in,” Koski said. “Since the trend is going downward it’s really concerning to us.”
According to Denver police, a similar sting on retail liquor establishments in July netted similar results — 54 were visited and 13 were cited.
“Ninety-two percent is probably not acceptable to those who conduct liquor and tobacco checks either,” Koski said.
Fowler agrees and has already implemented major changes to his operation and hopes the other 8 percent are as well.
“We are committed to making sure it never happens again,” he said.