Recreational Marijuana May Be Legal But Looping Is Not

Posted January 16, 2018

In Colorado, it is legal to purchase recreational marijuana, but the amount you can purchase or have in your possession at one time is one ounce. One marijuana store chain in Denver was recently busted for “looping.” Looping is a process where a buyer purchases one ounce of marijuana at a time, but comes back over and over to purchase additional ounces.

A number of Sweet Leaf Marijuana stores in the Denver area have been under investigation since November 2016. The investigation started when officials were tipped off by a nearby resident of the Sweet Leaf store on West 38th Street. The resident claimed that he had noticed people parking near his house, walking to the Sweet Leaf store, purchasing marijuana products and bringing them back to their car, and then going back to buy more. This behavior was occurring on a daily basis.

Over the next year, surveillance and undercover agents did their job gathering evidence of looping activity. During this time, they also arrested several individuals when they left with excessive amounts of marijuana. Charges ranged from possession to possession with intent to sell.

Allegedly, most of the budtenders and even some of the security guards were aware of the illegal activity taking place. Customers, including undercover agents, were told that it would be okay as long as they parked their cars away from surveillance cameras. Then in December, several of the Denver-area Sweet Leaf stores were raided. Thirteen budtenders were arrested. At least 10 were charged with a “misdemeanor or felony distribution of marijuana.”

Drug crimes in Colorado can be complex, regardless of the severity. Most drug charges are best fought with the help of an experienced attorney. Evidence of a drug crime can often be questioned as to the legality of how it was collected or documented. There may also be questions as to the intent of the defendant.

Source: The Cannabist, “Inside informants, loopers and undercover investigation that led to Sweet Leaf raids,” Dec. 28, 2017