‘Do your job’ After 90% Drop In Underage Compliance Checks – CBS Denver

DENVER (CBS4) – The state agency in charge of making sure marijuana dispensaries aren’t selling to children is under fire. Two state senators have asked for an audit of Marijuana Enforcement Division, after learning that the agency only conducted 80 underage compliance checks last year.

 

The Liquor Enforcement Division conducted 2,400 inspections, by comparison. Longmont was home seven of the 80 dispensaries whose enforcement was sought. Investigators have found four of the dispensaries sold to minors.

“We should really be doing everything we can to keep it out of the hands of youth,”Dawn Reinfeld, who heads a parent group called Blue Rising Together, said this.

(credit: CBS)

After an open records request revealed that the Liquor Enforcement Division had conducted 25 times more underage compliance check last year than it did with half as many full-time employees, it pushed for a bill to improve compliance checks.

State Senators Chris Hansen (State Senator) and Kevin Priola (State Senator) sponsored the bill, which required at least one check per dispensary annually.

“It wasn’t a bill that was anti-industry. It wasn’t a bill that was trying to come after any particular group. It was just saying to the Department of Revenue which runs Marijuana Enforcement Division, ‘please do your job,’”Hansen.

While the Marijuana Enforcement Division insists it is doing its job, Hansen and Priola say the numbers don’t reflect that. The Division performed 604 underage checks before COVID in 2019. This year it’s on track for just 50 checks.

The compliance rate has dropped from 97% – 95%. That’s a staggering number of minors who were impacted by the 30 million retail marijuana sales in 2013.

(credit: CBS)

Priloa says if the Division was doing its job it shouldn’t have requested a million dollars to comply with the bill.

“It seemed duplicitous in itself that you’re saying you’re already doing this, but if it does happen to pass into law, we need over $1 million to do what we’re already doing.”

Reinfeld went even further. “It seems to me that they’re not prioritize keeping things out of hands of kids, but prioritizing being a business development arm for the state.”

Reinfeld said that parents are also concerned by the lack of transparency. A spokesperson for the division says they’re working on updates to their website and will be including more data in their annual reports. She says they’re also recruiting more underage buyers for sting operations.

All but one member of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted in opposition to the bill, which would have required increased compliance checks.

The legislative audit committee needs to approve the senators’ request for an audit.

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