Marijuana shop(s) cited for selling to minors

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

State authorities cited two Aspen marijuana dispensaries earlier this week for selling pot to a minor, sources said Thursday.

None of those sources, however, was the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, which said only that it had conducted compliance checks Monday in Aspen.

But Josh Ginsberg, CEO of Native Roots Colorado, was more forthcoming.

“(A) Native Roots Aspen employee sold retail marijuana to an undercover Marijuana Enforcement Division agent who was under 21 years of age,” Ginsberg wrote Thursday in an email to The Aspen Times. “Saying that I’m appalled and outraged by this act would be an understatement.”

Multiple sources said Alternative Medical Solutions was the other dispensary cited. A message left Thursday at Alternative Medical Solutions seeking comment about a citation was returned by Aspen attorney Lauren Maytin, who said the dispensary’s owners had no comment.

Ginsberg said his company parted ways with Native Roots employee who sold the marijuana and the store manager, because his company, which operates a chain of dispensaries in Colorado, “has zero tolerance for such reckless behavior.” The store manager said quit on his own volition.

Ginsberg said his employees are extensively trained to check customers’ identification twice and use sophisticated scanners to detect fake IDs.

“I am personally embarrassed by this event and want the community to know that it is absolutely not indicative of the manner in which Native Roots conducts business,” Ginsberg said in the email. “Swift and companywide action will be taken to ensure that this isolated incident is never repeated.”

Assistant Aspen Police Chief Bill Linn said though he’s had no official word state authorities were in town, he heard they were here. He said he also heard two dispensaries “failed,” though he didn’t know which ones.

Specific information as to who was cited and where the citations were issued will be available when the infractions are eventually filed in Pitkin County Court.

Thomas Moore, a spokesman for the Marijuana Enforcement Division, said in an email Thursday that the results of Monday’s compliance checks are part of an ongoing investigation and that no further information would be released.

Linn said that while he didn’t know specifics about the marijuana compliance checks, he did know that the Department of Revenue conducted alcohol compliance checks Wednesday in Aspen at a number of establishments and none sold to minors.