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Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado for 19 months now, and since that time, vendors have worked extremely hard to remain compliant with all state laws. The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) is the state agency responsible for performing compliance checks at the various shops in Colorado. Since the legalization of recreational cannabis in January 2014, the MED has performed nearly 130 underage compliance checks.

Following seven recent checks in the town of Aspen, the agency has confirmed that two citations were issued after two separate shops illegally sold marijuana to minors who were sent into the shops by the MED. These are the first citations issued in Colorado.

Authorities did not give the names of the stores where the infractions occurred, but one business has spoken out, confirming that one of the violations occurred in their Aspen location. Dave Cuesta handles compliance issues for Native Roots, and he commented:

“Needless to say, we’re extremely remorseful. We’ve been through several sting operations and this is the first time our employees have sold to undercover agents.”

Josh Ginsberg, Native Roots CEO, also responded to the incident:

“Native Roots holds itself to the highest standards, and as a company we’ve put measures in place to ensure the highest standards are met.”

Ginsberg confirmed that both the employee and the store manager have been fired. There are also plans to take action company-wide to ensure that all who are employed by Native Roots have proper training in order to avoid any future problems.

Recreational marijuana vendors are required to check identification and are only permitted to sell products to customers over the age of 21. In contrast, medicinal stores can sell to patients who are under 21 if they have certain medical conditions and are registered with the state. Businesses who are found in violation of these rules may face a fine of $100,000 and can even have their licenses revoked or suspended.

Despite the news of the recent citations, Colorado has done remarkably well in preventing the sale of cannabis to minors. Compared to other locations, such as Washington state, where recreational marijuana was legalized at the same time, the violations have been few in number.

photo credit: Drug Policy Alliance

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