DENVER (CBS4) – Legalizing marijuana was supposed to largely eliminate the black market for pot, but a CBS4 Investigation found dealers have come off the street corner and onto the Internet, openly posing as legitimate delivery services.
In just three hours, we contacted three delivery services and had marijuana products delivered all over Denver. The services claim to be perfectly legal because nothing was for sale. Instead of payment, buyers were expected to pay a pre-specified, cash "donation." Additionally, the delivery service ads stated they would only sell to adults over 21 or people with medical marijuana cards.
Wearing a hidden camera, a CBS4 employee, who appeared underage, responded to an ad for marijuana for a "$35 donation" and met at Cheesman Park.
"I'm new to it. I don't know if I can smell it or something," said the CBS4 employee who was not asked for identification proving his age.
"I have to get the money first," said the man from the delivery service who told us he got the marijuana from a friend who was a grower for a dispensary.
The CBS4 employee walked away from the deal as CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger approached.
"Is what you are doing legal?" asked Sallinger.
The man from the delivery service didn't answer, but Jim Gerhardt of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association did, "No, marijuana delivery services that are advertised on Craigslist are by and large illegal. I don't know any that are legal."
Gerhardt said the only place it is legal to sell marijuana is inside a state licensed dispensary. Giving it away for a donation doesn't pass the sniff test.
"These are the games people are playing to get around what truly is the intent of the law," he said.
CBS4 also responded to an ad for "Delicious Edibles for Donation. All 300mg plus!" and placed an order. After settling on 150mg hard candies, by text we asked, "They're strong right?" The reply, "Yes, will have a morbidly depressed person laughing on the floor."
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Later we met, right across the street from the TV station. The delivery driver, who claimed he was a chef and made the edibles, arrived with five pre-packaged candies. Again, our undercover employee walked away as Sallinger approached to ask questions. The driver left in a hurry without answering.
Our final stop was the 16th Street Mall where we met a delivery service that offered a full menu. We arranged a $60 sampling and again no proof of age was required. This service specialized in bulk orders and even offered to ship the product.
"All this stuff is good, potent, there's a mix of stuff in there," said the delivery man who claimed that everything was gourmet and made at a local kitchen.
In each case we met in a crowded, public place, because even the delivery services admit there is a real danger involved.
"People on Craigslist are shady. Everyone has been a little fearful," said our final deliveryman.
In March, a 16-year-old girl and her dog were shot after arranging to buy hash in a parking lot from someone on the Internet. In this case, it was the delivery service on the defensive.
"Hi there, I'm from channel 4 and we are doing a story on marijuana delivery services," said Sallinger who approached the deliveryman on the 16th Street Mall. When pressed, the delivery service said he only had candy and not marijuana, before running away from our camera.
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