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Update: 2:15 pm, December 14th: A Sweet Leaf representative sent Westword an official statement from the company: “This morning Sweet Leaf was surprised to receive a notification from the Department of Excise and License that all of our city licenses were in the US Suspends City and County of Denver. It is currently unclear what action, if any, Sweet Leaf has taken to bring the city to this order. Sweet Leaf is working with authorities to resolve this issue and is hoping to have all of their business dealings . back in operation as soon as possible. “
Sweet Leaf, one of Colorado’s largest cannabis companies, has closed several locations in the Denver area after the Denver Police Department issued both search and arrest warrants on Thursday, December 14, according to DPD and the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses .
Effective immediately, Sweet Leaf’s Denver-based cultivation, processing and distribution licenses are suspended, said Daniel Rowland, director of communications for Excise and Licenses. The department issued the suspensions after learning of the DPD’s plan to execute search and arrest warrants in all Sweet Leaf operations.
DPD Public Information Officer Sonny Jackson confirmed that several arrest warrants were issued at Sweet Leaf locations but declined to provide further information, citing an ongoing investigation.
All ten Sweet Leaf Colorado stores are now closed or off-line; A sign hanging on the door of the pharmacy at 2609 Walnut Street announcing the suspension of the chain’s license. “Medical and / or retail licenses to these premises have been suspended by order of the Denver Department of Excises and Licenses for alleged violations of Colorado law,” the sign said.
Sweet Leaf has been open since 2009 and has been one of Denver’s largest pharmacy chains since retail sales began in January 2014. In addition to the ten now closed pharmacies in the Denver metropolitan area, the company had planned to open a store in Thornton. It also has a pharmacy in Portland, Oregon that was still open Thursday afternoon; Staff said they were unaware of the Denver search and arrest warrants.
Rowland says excise duties and licenses must be heard within thirty days to determine further action or the suspensions will be lifted.
A policeman at the Walnut Pharmacy declined to comment on the matter; The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, the state agency that issued or oversaw the transfer of 26 cannabis business licenses to the owners of Sweet Leaf, also declined to comment.
We’ll update this story as we learn more.
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Thomas Mitchell has been a cannabis-related writer for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate, and general news for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman, and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.