Illegal to buy and sell pot online

By: Sara Zendehnam Email
By: Sara Zendehnam Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The confusion continues about the legalization of marijuana and many people still have questions about what the law means for them.

With many Western Slope communities banning recreational pot within their boundaries, those who want it have limited access. That's led some to use popular websites to buy and sell the drug.

Some Coloradans are taking to Craigslist now that the drug is legal, but what many don't realize is the Internet is actually off-limits.

Amendment 64 legalized only certain forms of sale. They're strictly regulated and licensed, and officials say the people who take to sites like Craigslist to sell their product likely don't have a license. District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said, "The idea that Amendment 64 is a free for all for marijuana in Colorado for now on is something I need to stand up against."

Sellers try to disguise their ads and get around the law by saying they'll give marijuana out for free in exchange for a donation. Some sellers will contact you after you give them your information, but others have their phone numbers on display. We reached out to a seller via text. He refused an on-camera interview, but did talk about the strands of pot he had available and his prices. He's keeping his business by-delivery only, working to keep his identity as much of a secret as possible to avoid law enforcement.

Officials at the Grand Junction Police Department say no cases have come their way, yet. But if they found someone illegally selling marijuana online in Grand Junction, they'd investigate. However, the range of locations the Web site covers could make an arrest more difficult. Spokeswoman Kate Porras said, "The problem with things like Craigslist is they could be anywhere, not necessarily in Grand Junction, so we would only have jurisdiction if they were doing that here in our city."

Since marijuana was legalized, officials said they've seen the same amount of felony cases. But now that people have the option of buying it in stores instead of illegally. They're hoping that will seriously impact arrests. Hautzinger said, "I would like to think that we would see a decrease in those cases before much more time goes by, but I haven't seen it yet."

People who are looking to buy pot are even putting their own ads up, requesting certain amounts and want sellers to contact them. Buyers could be looking at misdemeanor to felony charges if caught. The consequences of being caught for selling marijuana without a license are more severe. Under state law, sellers could be charged for distribution, and face up to six years in prison. But under federal law, some face even bigger consequences, as they could be arrested by the FBI and prosecuted by the US Attorney General.

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