DENVER-- A thirteenth person has been arrested after police raided eight Sweet Leaf Marijuana locations around Denver on Thursday.
The raids were part of a year-long investigation involving undercover police officers. The stores are accused of selling more than the legal limit of marijuana to customers.
According to an arrest affidavit, officers posing as customers entered the store as many as seven times in a day to buy marijuana. Each time, they would buy 28 grams of marijuana before leaving the store. They would then drop it off in their car and return to the store for more. It’s something the marijuana industry has dubbed looping.
People who live in the neighborhoods behind the dispensaries told Denver7 they knew this was happening and complained numerous time to police and the city.
“They were going [inside] to purchase [marijuana], they would come back out, they [would] get in their car, they'd sit there and make phone calls and then other people [would] come up and purchase and then they go back in,” said Kodie Ketchbaw, who lives in the area. “They are clearly purchasing more than what is legal and what they’re supposed to be purchasing.”
Ketchbaw said she even saw some of the buyers order pizza from the street or in their cars.
“I had a friend in town who decided to go confront one of the guys and basically say, 'you need to take your business elsewhere and he threatened him with a gun,'” Ketchbaw said.
She doesn't have a problem with the marijuana industry but was upset people were doing illegal activities in front of her house.
Just down the street at another Sweet Leaf location, Denver7 heard the same stories from neighbors. One woman who didn't want to be identified on camera said buyers would hang out in front of her house for hours.
“We’re tired of it,” she said. “Our neighborhood has literally, like, just gone to pot.”
She’s been living in the area for 21 years and says since the dispensary moved in, she’s had people loitering and littering in her neighborhood.
“He would come to the marijuana shop make a purchase, zoom down the street on the hover board, put his purchase in the truck or car and then come back and forth and back and forth and I even called the police to complain about it,” she said.
She’s hoping the store stays closed.
Ketchbaw, meanwhile, doesn't have a problem with the marijuana stores nearby. She just wants the businesses to follow the rules and keep their customers in line.
But news about the raids have not been seen by everyone. Within 10 minutes of a Denver7 crew arriving at one of the stores, four customers showed up and were turned away.
Chandler Stephens said she is a loyal Sweet Leaf customer and never saw any shady business going on.
She said each time she entered the store, the vendors checked her ID and marijuana card and only sold the legal limit.
“They’re just all really nice people so it’s kind of a bummer that it happened,” Stephens said.