Marijuana

Former Marijuana Regulator's Charges Dropped in Connection to 2017 Bust

Scott Pack, seen here in a 2015 Facebook post, was the head of a marijuana scheme.
Scott Pack, seen here in a 2015 Facebook post, was the head of a marijuana scheme. Scott Pack Facebook
The four-year-old charges against a former Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division employee that connected her to an illegal marijuana scheme have been dropped.

Renee Rayton was indicted along with nineteen others by an Arapahoe County grand jury in 2017, shortly after she left her job at the MED, and accused of being part of a marijuana trafficking ring and fraud scheme. The operation, led by Colorado businessman Scott Pack, was using Pack's marijuana business licenses to produce marijuana without making legal sales, according to court documents; instead, Pack and his associates made millions by selling the marijuana on the black market instead.

The case caught the notice of then-United States Attorney General (and staunch marijuana opponent) Jeff Sessions, and Rayton's reported involvement was highlighted in the national media.

Pack was convicted of violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act and securities fraud, among other crimes. He received a twelve-year prison sentence last year, but Rayton's case wasn't resolved until last month.

Rayton had left her job as a marijuana compliance inspector with the MED in 2016, according to the indictment. Former MED employees are required to wait six months before working in the industry they previously regulated, but by early 2017, Rayton was working as a compliance consultant for Pack.

The indictment accused Rayton of making $8,000 a month working for Pack's illegal marijuana ring. She was arrested and charged with conspiracy to illegally grow pot in June 2017.

At the time, Rayton’s attorney told the Associated Press that her client was innocent. And in June, after the attorney filed a motion to dismiss all charges against Rayton, the court complied.

In his filing, John Kellner, District Attorney for Colorado's Eighteenth Judicial District in Arapahoe County, says that the charges against Rayton were dismissed over "conflicting evidence about the defendant’s knowledge of the criminal conspiracy in this case," and notes that the district attorney's office didn't believe it could prove her criminal involvement beyond a reasonable doubt.

Asked about the dismissal of the charges, the MED released the following statement:

"The MED was initially notified of this investigation in March of 2017. Due to the matter involving a former employee, MED leadership requested the assistance of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct an independent inquiry to ensure there were no additional areas of concern. We have no further comment."

Neither Rayton nor her attorney could be reached for comment.
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell