Marijuana giveaways raise interesting questions

A new Colorado law OKs recreational use of pot, but selling it remains illegal. However, a loophole is prompting some questionable business practices.

By Bruce Kennedy Feb 18, 2013 4:34PM

Marijuana plants at a grow house in Denver on Nov. 8, 2012 (© Ed Andrieski/AP Photo)Here's one way to increase foot traffic at your out-of-the-way store: offer a free gift of marijuana with every purchase of $30 or more.

That's the approach one Colorado “head shop” is taking. The Denver Post reports the shop recently put an ad on Craigslist in an effort to attract more customers to its relatively remote site near the city's Sports Authority Field at Mile High (insert your joke here).

"The marijuana is not for sale," the store's owner told the Post. "You're actually purchasing smoking accessories, tobacco, T-shirts, fine art. As a gift for them patronizing our store, we're giving them 2 grams of marijuana for free.... It's just an incentive."

The offer, and others like it, are also coming under scrutiny from both sides of the cannabis issue in Colorado. And it could have an impact on the future of marijuana sales elsewhere in the U.S.

Voters in the state passed Amendment 64 last November, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana by adults. You can also legally "gift" a certain amount of marijuana to someone else. But it's still illegal in Colorado to buy or sell cannabis for recreational purposes -- at least until next year, when communities can decide to allow or ban local retail pot shops.

Medical marijuana is already legal and a big business in Colorado, and this acceptance, along with the apparent legal loophole in Amendment 64 has, for the moment, encouraged others in the cannabis industry to try their luck with "free" pot.

A Colorado Springs delivery service recently came under law enforcement scrutiny for offering door-to-door marijuana deliveries in exchange for "suggested donation[s] towards researching [marijuana] and improving our cultivation operation,” according to the city's Independent newspaper,

Some cannabis-oriented clubs also offer free marijuana -- after you pay an admission fee.

Supporters of Amendment 64 say there's some legal backing for the concept of trading marijuana without "remuneration" for a service, donation or item.

But marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and local law enforcement officials in Colorado are wise to the game as well.

"If I show up at your house with less than an ounce of marijuana, I'm 21, you're 21, and I say, 'Hey dude, it cost me 50 bucks in gas to get over here,' and you give me 50 bucks for my gas, there's nothing illegal," Lt. Mark Comte with Colorado Springs Police told the Independent.

"I mean, you and I both know what's going on with it,” he said, “but they know what the loopholes are right now."

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Feb 18, 2013 7:40PM
Wake up elected officials! The people have spoke. Other than maybe stealin a microwave burrito, I have never heard of anyone FREAKINOUT on pot and goin postal. Eating and,goin asleep perhaps.Drunk folks have been more violent and,caused much more mayhem!
Feb 18, 2013 7:38PM
So the cop is saying less than an ounce, for 50 bucks worth of gas!?  Hmmm,......I'm over 21
Feb 18, 2013 7:35PM
I don't smoke pot. I don't even plan on smoking pot.  But for those in our free country who choose to smoke, let it be.  When will our government  use a little common sense and realize pot smokers are going to smoke regardless of the laws.  They waste our tax money on  police officers trying to arrest these people rather than spending their time more productively on worse crimes.  Tax pot and give our officers a raise for putting their lives on the line for the public.  Thank you
Feb 18, 2013 7:27PM
I  noticed you were too **** to mention the stores name. Was it "Home Sweet Home"?I haven't been in Denver for a while, but that was always a nice place to visit.
Feb 18, 2013 7:26PM
It's not accepted as a med because it's not promoted as a med. - I don't have to drive to a 'special' store to buy my meds... I get all my 'real' meds for the pharmacy. I can't get my high blood pressure pill baked in brownie, or infused in a wine, or even "high blood pressure" butter. And none of my meds require me to smoke it to get the 'best' results. And none of the meds I've ever taken in my lifetime has made me feel paranoid... yup that sounds like a miracle drug to me!
Feb 18, 2013 7:25PM

Genius! Without a doubt. I like the "Hey it cost me $50 bucks to get here" line. This country is going broke & one way to HELP(not cure) is to legalize & tax pot. Of course,the brain-trust in DC would just go waste it on useless stuff. Thats for another debate.

Feb 18, 2013 7:20PM
Truth Speaker180 Hear Hear!!! We need more people to speak the truth that the people opposed government does not want people to know!
Feb 18, 2013 7:13PM
OK potheads, answer me this.  If you can't sell pot tell me again how it is tax revenue for the state?
Feb 18, 2013 7:12PM
And in the meantime New York City tests Pothole Loops!
Feb 18, 2013 7:06PM
Unless something changed recently I read our state law page about this the night after the election. What I read on was that it is legal for any person over the age of 21 to use marijuana in the privacy of their own home, grow up to 6 plants total, and sell marijuana to others 21 and older as long as you arent making a big public show and advertisment of it. that was all to be effective the day after the election as well.
Feb 18, 2013 7:04PM
Strange comments here. I do hope it works out for them, if only to find out the law can work. It's quasi-legal out here, but our federal prosecutors decided to go after the bank accounts of the sellers. It's made it impossible for them to bank any cash, accept any ATM/credit cards, or have any assets in a bank. It's an end run around the attorney general's hand off approach, and clearly was intended as a giant publicity stunt to further some other lawyers career.  There are a lot of law enforcement jobs that would be lost if the war on pot is declared over. They (potheads) are much easier to find, don't fight back, and won't kill you for arresting them. No pothead has ever gone postal on pot alone. it's just not possible, they may bore you to death rambling on forever, but they won't/can't cut your throat.
Feb 18, 2013 7:01PM

"The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced." Frank Zappa


"If a law is injust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson


"Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced." Albert Einstein


'Nuff said.

Feb 18, 2013 6:56PM
I live in Canada So can grow 1 plant on my balcony and nothing will happen, one day someone had called the cops they made a visit saw the plant and said nothing about it.
Feb 18, 2013 6:53PM

You mean there's a loophole. Sorta like Congress and The Government when it says you slave away doing this un-needed deed for yourself that only benefits the Government & the country the government wants to exist. For this paper money that we will then allow you to purchase the things you need & would of otherwise killed, cooked & probably took from the mouths of those in congress, much like the sweat the government steals off your own back. Yeah, still not quite that good of a loophole as they have on you.

Feb 18, 2013 6:51PM
It's fine BUT the law says you can only have so much in your possession So where does the shop keeper store his pot to give away?
Feb 18, 2013 6:46PM

all I know I have been investing in Medical marijuana stocks, and yes they do exist.   I doubled my money in less than 2 months investing in 4 different ones. The best part the price per share is still under 1 buck for now..



Feb 18, 2013 6:43PM
Did Adam and Eve have a doctor?..........and the green herb shall be used as your medicine.
Feb 18, 2013 6:41PM
Feds need to respect the will of the voters here in Colorado and those in Washington.  The other 48 states need to get on board and legalized marijuana nation-wide.
Feb 18, 2013 6:36PM
Time for someone to bring a federal lawsuit so every state has to open up and start providing this service in all 50 states. I'm not a lawyer but.......I'm guessing this would fall under seperate and equal ?
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