Seven marijuana stores are under fire for selling marijuana to underage people in Denver, Colorado. Like alcohol, the legal age to purchase marijuana is 21 years old.
According to 9 News, 30 stores were under investigation by Denver police. And with these statistics, nearly one in four marijuana dispensary sells to underage children.
Since the legalization of recreational pot selling commenced in 2014, these investigations rarely found underage sales to be an issue. In fact, 9 News reports that the first year of stings yielded zero violations for marijuana stores.
According to Lewis Koski, a member of the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, the seven busts that transpired this week have affected the industry’s compliance rate, reducing it to a total of 91%.
In order to get the numbers back to a desirable state, Koski says that the division will up their efforts.
But not everyone is as worried as the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division. Mason Tvert, a marijuana advocate and member of the Marijuana Policy Project, feels that this is just a natural part of the regulation process.
“Really, this is how the system’s intended to work to make sure that people are asking for ID, and, in most cases, it keeps them out,” Tvert said.
After all, marijuana is a relatively new industry with brilliant economic potential. In the next five years, it’s predicted that marijuana sales will total a whopping $10.2 billion.
Just like alcohol distributors, marijuana stores need to have tight procedures on monitoring underage sales, or they could see major consequences, in the form of a suspension of license, an individual violation fine, and even a fine in lieu of suspension of $100,000.
There are currently 200 licensed marijuana stores in the state of Colorado, and with more opening each year, the marijuana market will find a balance for procedure and regulation with underage sales.