BBB Issues Warning About Online Marijuana Retailer Scams

BBB Issues Warning About Online Marijuana Retailer Scams
It's easy to buy pot in Colorado –– but not that easy. Federal law still prohibits mailing marijuana, and that was one of the red flags when two online marijuana retailers claiming to mail their products to purchasers were reported as scams to the Better Business Bureau of Denver.

The two businesses, Denver Marijuana and Denver Smoke Buds, are currently being investigated by the BBB, which recently sent a warning to consumers. Among the BBB's findings: Denver Marijuana claims to sell a large variety of substances like bath salts and research chemicals, which are synthetic drugs designed to imitate other illicit drugs, alongside marijuana products.

Two business addresses on South Colorado Boulevard have been associated with Denver Marijuana. The first actually belongs to a liquor store that has no connection to the outfit; this was then changed to a second address that doesn't appear to exist. Additionally, the "research chemicals" hyperlink in the ad leads to a separate site that claims a false business address in a residential area of Denver. And the number listed is a Google Voice number with a Cleveland, Ohio, area code.

"One huge red flag for us is when there is no link to registration with the Colorado Secretary of State," explains Krista Ferndelli, director of marketing and communications for the BBB of Denver. "Both of these places show no owner, no managing staff, and have some sketchy information about where they are based." Denver Smoke Buds, for instance, claims in some places on its site to be based out of Atlanta, while on other pages it claims to be based in Denver.

Speaking of Denver Smoke Buds, Ferndelli notes: "Whenever we called them, they would deliberately hang up. They also list themselves as winners of fake awards on their website." Two of these nonexistent honors are "best of" awards from the Colorado Springs Gazette and Colorado Springs Independent –– though recreational marijuana remains illegal within the city of Colorado Springs.

"The BBB can always be a good way to check if a business is legitimate," Ferndelli suggests. "Make sure to listen to other people in the marketplace and try to understand the laws surrounding marijuana."
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Gabe Fine is a fifth-generation Colorado native and a student at Colorado College. He’s written about everything from the environment to housing justice to the postal service as an editorial intern for Westword.
Contact: Gabe Fine