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Marijuana giveaway with pipes purchase illegal, says attorney general, police chief

Earlier this month, we wrote about Craigslist advertisements offering free marijuana as a bonus for purchasing other items, in exchange for a donation, or even for buying a $50 bumper sticker. Now, however, both the Colorado Attorney General and the Denver Police Chief have branded the practice illegal -- although ads for some deals remain online at this writing.

In our February 4 post, we followed up on reporting by CBS4's Rick Sallinger, contacting the owners of 4 Strains Pipe & Tobacco. The operation's still-accessible ad features this graphic....

Marijuana giveaway with pipes purchase illegal, says attorney general, police chief

...and this text:

COLORADO AMENDMENT 64!! COMPLIANT!

GET YOUR 2 GRAM SACK OF FREE NUGS WHEN YA GET $30

PURCHASE OF SMOKING ACCESSORIES OR TOBACCO ECTERA

IN OUR HEAD SHOP!

NO JOKE! ANYONE OVER 21 YEARS OLD WITH A ID FROM ANYWHERE.

NO MEDICAL CARD REQUIRED.

CASH ONLY

HOURS 12-7

As we reported, 4 Strains is run by Mike Paulk and Felicia L. According to Paulk, "We're not a center; we're two caregivers. We've been operating for almost three years. We started out just being caregivers and selling extra to centers. But in 2010, when they legislated caregivers out of being able to sell to medical marijuana centers, we kept our patients -- we've had some of them assigned to us for two or three years -- and went on Craigslist."

This approach has been a success. "We've built from a garage to a 5,000 square foot building with a certificate of occupancy and a business license -- we're totally legit," Paulk pointed out. Moreover, he said, their attorney tells them that the current giveaway is just fine under the provisions of Amendment 64 that have already taken effect.

"If you read about the amendment in the voter-information packet that was sent to the public in 2012, the things about personal use and possession section are in place," he maintained. "Like the part where it states you can assist somebody in cultivating it as long as there's no remuneration. So what we're doing is offering people what they want anyway just to get them to come into our store to buy pipes, T-shirts and other things we have for sale."

As for Felicia, she stressed that "we're really not making any money" from the two-gram giveaway.... What we're selling is smoking accessories."

In a followup piece by Sallinger on view below, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and Denver Police Chief Robert White offer a very different interpretation of this theory.

Continue for more about the free marijuana offer, including a video.

For his latest piece, Sallinger donned a wig -- unfortunately, the clip doesn't include any close-up shots of the very recognizable correspondent in disguise -- to visit a Santa Fe art gallery making a similar offer. But he also references 4 Strains, spotlighting the following ad; Sallinger doesn't mention where it appeared, but we found it in the February 14 edition of Westword.

The reporter then visits 4 Strains and notes that the owners believe their offer is completely legal.

Cut to a Denver City Council committee meeting with members quizzing police chief White about the ad and accompanying offer. "It is illegal," states a smiling, almost laughing White, "and we are investigating as we speak."

John Suthers.
John Suthers.

No such mirth from AG Suthers, who informs Sallinger that, in his views, the promotion is a "scam" and "indicative of some of the stuff that's going on to work around the letter of the law."

By the way, Legal Chronic Delivery, the company that promised to provide a free eighth of weed for each purchase of a $50 bumper sticker, pulled down its website shortly after our post about the service was published.

Likewise, there are noticeably fewer free marijuana ads on Denver Craigslist than there were a couple of weeks ago -- but they're not all gone. In addition to the 4 Strains spot mentioned above, there's also a deal mentioned earlier by Sallinger -- free medical marijuana to anyone sponsoring "my red wiggler worms."

Here's the latest CBS4 report.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Legal Chronic Delivery's free-weed-but-$50-for-a-bumper-sticker deal disappears."


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