When Sweet Leaf Marijuana Centers in Denver were shut down in a raid last month, 13 budtenders in Denver were arrested for selling “unlawful amounts of marijuana” to customers over a yearlong period of investigation. Four of them are currently facing felony charges. According to their attorney however, they are exempt from criminal prosecution in Colorado under Amendment 64.
Robert J. Corry Jr., who is representing the four employees facing felony charges, recently argued in court that charges should be dismissed. Sweet Leaf budtenders Stuart Walker, Deann Miller, Leanne Henley, and Krystal Mauro were all charged with unlawful distribution of more than four ounces of marijuana in a method that is commonly referred to as “looping.”
Corry filed a court motion stating that the accused acted within the confines of state law, asking court officials to dismiss the charges. He asserted that Amendment 64 establishes a threshold immunity from criminal prosecution.
In his motion, Corry wrote that the Colorado Constitution permits adults over the age of 21 to possess one-ounce or less, in addition to actions such as “assisting” another adult or transferring one-ounce or less to another adult.
He also added that marijuana sellers are not required to perform law enforcement actions with the customers they serve.
“Accordingly,” Corry wrote, “it is not Colorado law that a given adult, in all circumstances, can never legally possess more than 1 ounce. There are hundreds of reasons why an adult would be legally permitted to possess more than 1 ounce at a given time. But at any rate, nothing in the law imposes any duty, other than checking birthdate on identification, on an employee of a licensed marijuana seller to ‘babysit’ adult customers nor to essentially perform law enforcement functions of ensuring the customers comply with all laws.”
Corry also referred to the fact that before January 1, 2018, state regulations did not refer to selling one-ounce of cannabis or less in a “single transaction.” Instead, regulation specified, “A retail marijuana store and its employees are prohibited from selling more than 1 ounce of retail marijuana flower or its equivalent in retail marijuana concentrate or retail marijuana product during a sales transaction to a customer.” The “single transaction” revision was added after Sweet Leaf employees were arrested.
The Denver District Attorney office declined any comments on the case, which is still ongoing.