The owners of the former dispensary chain Sweet Leaf — which was subjected to a long dispute with Colorado regulators over violations regarding per-customer cannabis purchasing limits — have been sentenced to a year in prison, The Denver Post reports.
Sweet Leaf — based in Denver, Colorado — was accused of “looping” or allowing customers to return several times per day to buy the maximum allowed amount, which is a violation of the law. It’s assumed that cannabis purchased using this method was diverted to the illicit market.
The sentencing is the final action in a long series of monetary judgements and legal drama.
“I think this was obviously a first case in Colorado. I think it was the first in the nation where a state prosecution office went after a licensed marijuana company. We did not see this scope with anybody else.” — Kenneth Boyd, lead prosecutor, via The Denver Post
Sweet Leaf owners Christian Johnson, Matthew Aiken, and Anthony Sauro all plead guilty to charges of violating the Colorado Organized Crime Act, illegally selling and distributing cannabis and failure to file or pay taxes.
The plea deal that encouraged the owners to plead guilty stipulated that their sentence would be one year in prison, then one year of parole, then one year of probation.
“The vast majority of Denver’s marijuana industry businesses are reputable and responsible and strive to obey our marijuana laws. However, Sweet Leaf is an exception. My office will prosecute those who do not comply with our marijuana laws,” said Denver District Attorney Beth McCann.