Craiglist pot-seller learns Amendment 64 won't protect him from arrest -- or bullets

Selling recreational marijuana still illegal in CO

DENVER - An accused Craigslist pot-seller in Denver has learned the hard way that Amendment 64 won't protect him from arrest -- or a bullet in the back from a customer.

According to court records, 44-year-old Christopher John Davis told a Denver undercover cop he could sell marijuana for recreational use on Craigslist to people age 21 or older, because Colorado voters in November passed the constitutional amendment legalizing adult recreational use of small amounts of pot.

 

'Compliant Caregiver' Under Medical Marijuana Law

Davis' Craigslist ad said he was a "compliant caregiver" under the state's 12-year-old medical marijuana law and he has "the best Meds."

Police say Davis likes to deliver marijuana on his orange Cannondale bicycle. Court records also show he's had his driver's license revoked.

On Nov. 28, 2012 -- 22 days after voters approved Amendment 64 -- Davis rode his bike to meet with a man who had replied to his ad at West 10th Avenue and Santa Fe Drive in Denver.

Davis asked the man if he had a medical marijuana patient "license," and the customer said no he didn't. The play-acting "customer," a Denver police undercover officer, recounted the transaction in a sworn statement supporting a search warrant for Davis' home.

When the customer asked if he could still buy some weed, Davis said, "Yeah…Amendment 64, right?" the search warrant affidavit said.

Davis then checked the man's Colorado driver's license to confirm he was 21 years old.

Amendment 64 now makes it legal under state law for adults age 21 or older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, or grow up to six plants, and to privately use the drug.

Davis told the undercover officer that "anyone with an ID that shows they are 21 can smoke" marijuana under Amendment 64 and "the cops are not going to bust you on it and no DA's going to prosecute you for it," the affidavit said.

 

Selling Recreational Pot Still Illegal

However, selling recreational pot is not yet legal under Amendment 64.

Under the new law, the state has until October 2013 to establish a system for regulating the sale of recreational marijuana, including licensing businesses to sell pot. Until then, state law only allows licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to sell the drug to state-registered medical marijuana patients.

"Selling (recreational) marijuana without a license is still a felony under Colorado law," warns the website for Sensible Colorado, the group that campaigned for passage of Amendment 64.

Under federal law, any type of marijuana use, cultivation or transaction remains illegal.

 

'Magic Bud'

Davis offered the undercover officer several different strains of marijuana in baggies labeled with exotic names like "Magic Bud," "Black Domino," "Fire OG Kush" and "Sour Cream," according to the affidavit. The undercover cop paid Davis $200 for 2 ounces of marijuana.

The undercover officer wrote that "Chris later exclaimed he gets people all the time that do not have a 'red card' (street slang for a medical marijuana license), and if they seem cool and he can tell they are not a cop, Chris will sell marijuana to them," the affidavit said.

What Davis didn't know is that, besides the undercover officer, there was another detective monitoring the pot sale on a hidden electronic listening device while members of the police "Narcotics 90 Team" were "conducting surveillance" and "close cover for the operation" in case the something went wrong with the drug sting, the affidavit said.

In wake of Amendment 64's passage, the district attorneys in Denver and Boulder counties said they would no longer charge people 21 or older for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana. Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett said his office would start dismissing some existing minor pot cases and Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said his office would review minor cases for possible dismissal.

But, for now, selling recreational marijuana remains a felony.

 

Craigslist Ad: 'Amendment 64 Compliant'

Davis isn't alone in thinking the voter-approved law will make police and prosecutors less likely to come after marijuana sellers.

Another accused pot dealer, identified by police as 25-year-old Chad Brizendine, was selling weed called "Lemon Skunk" and "Golden Goat" on a Craigslist ad in November, according to a search warrant affidavit.

"Great product. Super convenient," the seller wrote on Craigslist, noting that he "delivered" in the "Denver Metro" area.

"Amendment 64 Compliant," the seller wrote, urging people "please do not flag!" his Craigslist ad as improper.

Brizendine was also targeted by Denver police for undercover buys.

Officers searched his Denver apartment on Nov. 30 and seized several bags of marijuana, the affidavit said.

Brizendine was arrested and faces five felony drug charges, according to court records.

Meanwhile, Davis continued to sell pot to the Denver with the undercover officer. The cop asked if Davis could sell him big amounts and Davis said he could provide up to a pound, the affidavit said.

On Dec. 12, Davis sold the officer a quarter-pound of marijuana for $650, the affidavit said.

 

Another Hard Lesson

But, before police could execute the search warrant on Davis' home, the suspected dealer learned a second hard lesson.

On Dec. 13, Davis was talking with a customer and his two "associates" as they sat in a black car parked outside his home on West 43rd Avenue.

Davis was supposed to sell a half-pound of pot to the trio when a dispute erupted, the affidavit said.

An "unknown party" shot Davis in the back, police said.

He was rushed to the hospital and survived.

Police searched Davis' home and found blood on the kitchen floor along with bloody clothing, the affidavit said.

Narcotics officers also seized three bags of marijuana along with suspected crack cocaine and powder cocaine and a digital scale used for weighing drugs, according to the search warrant seizure list.

Davis was arrested two days after being shot and is being held in the Denver jail on three felony counts of marijuana distribution, according to court records.

Violent crime is nothing new in the evolving world of marijuana decriminalization.

The creation of medical marijuana dispensaries and growing operations in Colorado led to armed robberies, assaults and even some killings.

Advocates of marijuana legalization say that the state's maturing medical marijuana regulatory system has created a highly secure process for growing and selling recreational pot and this will only improve once weed is sold and taxed like alcohol.

 

Prior Convictions

This isn't Davis' first brush with the law.

In 2011, he pleaded guilty to a felony marijuana distribution charge in Boulder County and was ordered to pay $9,110 in fines and court costs, but received no jail time, according to court records.

In 2006, Davis was sentenced to two years in state prison for felony drug possession, and in 2003, he was sentenced to three years in state prison for receiving stolen property, according to court records

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