Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division: No decision about Cherry Top Farms reopening

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During the raid.
It's been almost a month since authorities raided Cherry Top Farms dispensary, even though the center wasn't the target of an investigation. But the MMC remains closed, and while Cherry Top reps met with the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division yesterday, there's still no timeline for reopening -- and the longer it's out of operation, the steeper the odds against it ever doing so.

As we've reported, Drug Enforcement Administration agents were watching Nathan Do, 21, his father, Ha Do, 48, Ha's brother Hai Do, 44, and business partner Richard Crosse, 48. The three Dos were principals in the now-closed Earth's Medicine dispensary on Federal Boulevard, but they also had an unauthorized warehouse grow that linked them with Crosse. In June, law enforcers shut down the enterprise and seized 1,865 plants. But cops subsequently learned more cultivation was taking place there

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On October 13, various agencies were about to move in on the grow when something unexpected happened. "As the investigating agents were preparing to execute a search and arrest warrant at the warehouse, they noticed the Dos attempting to move some of their contraband" in a truck, U.S. Attorneys Office spokesman Jeff Dorschner told us. "The agents followed the truck that contained the contraband to determine where it was going -- and the truck ultimately ended up at Cherry Top Farms."

Shortly thereafter, "the contraband was off-loaded from the truck into the warehouse of Cherry Top Farms," Dorschner added, "and agents who followed the truck went in to locate the plants that were transported. And when they did, they found themselves in the middle of a substantially larger grow. And once federal agents are in the presence of contraband, even though it was not the primary focus of the investigation, they were required to seize it."

Why? Because all marijuana, medical or not, is against federal law. As such, agents took approximately 2,500 plants from the dispensary and closed it.

The following week, Cherry Top Farms attorney Bob Hoban said he hoped the dispensary would be allowed to reopen soon, since no employees were arrested and the center was in compliance with all state laws. But more than three weeks have passed without any positive developments.

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Dan Hartman.
Then, yesterday afternoon, industry sources tell us Hoban and the dispensary's owner met with Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division personnel. Which staffers? Hoban declines to comment, but we've learned the main MMED folks were enforcement director Paul Schmidt and outgoing division head Dan Hartman -- not his replacement, Laura Harris, who'll officially be in charge next week.

This can't be interpreted as a good sign. While the Department of Revenue insists that the reassignment of Hartman to oversee the Division of Racing Events was part of a larger restructuring strategy that rolled out over a series of months, it closely followed public censure by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers regarding Hartman's decision to write a letter seen as opposing community bans against medical marijuana retail sales. The perception: that Hartman had gotten so cozy with the MMJ industry (which Suthers regularly criticizes) that he could no longer head the agency governing it.

Presumably, then, a positive recommendation from Hartman would carry little weight. Moreover, a decision by Harris to let Cherry Top Farms start selling again would have to be seen as politically risky, particularly as one of her first major acts.

Cherry Top Farms isn't dead yet -- but hope for its survival appears to be dimming.

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More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana: Full Spectrum Labs shutting doors until state license is issued."

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14 comments
Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"And once federal agents are in the presence of contraband, even though it was not the primary focus of the investigation, they were required to seize it."

So when DEA is given access to ALL Colorado MMED video feeds and grow locations as required by HB1284, it's all over !!

Ha
Ha

all over for the shills like you

duchess
duchess

The plants they were taking in were from an unlicensed warehouse.  They should have had all the paperwork for that other warehouse.  We of course don't know all the details, if they did have all the required paperwork then it was counterfeit paperwork and they should not be punished for that.  But we don't know the whole story.  Be careful who you deal with in this industry.

Supporter
Supporter

It wasn't tha fault of CTF, it was the delivery driver and owner of the unlicensed grow who did not have the permission of anyone with the authority to give it to drop off anything at CTF. It's a mess that's been dropped on them because of an indescriminate grower who knew better (obviously since he'd already been raided once already this year) and just bad timing.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Sorry it went down like this, but someone had to lose, it's the nature of the business, it's the smugglers blues.

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

The fact that the DOR is not helping them is ridiculous.  They paid their fees and were in compliance.  They could have had clones in there now vegging and ready to flip.  

CTF has a HUGE investment in that property, and it would be a shame if they are closed for good.   

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

It's the lure of easy money a lot of shady deals. The payoffs and the ripoffs and the ones who squeal ...the Smuggler's Blues ... I had a premonition something might go wrong that's why I chose not to ride along!

Monkey
Monkey

I agree, ridiculous. When will dispensary owners pull their resources and sue the DOR. They are the ones guiding these people, telling them it's ok, wouldn't that be considered a "ring leader" or "head of a criminal enterprise". I think if I orchestrated thousands of people to manufacture and sell marijuana I would be arrested, but Colorado just keeps cashing checks and letting their street dealers take the hit.

Quadrophincl
Quadrophincl

as always you hit the nail on the head brother. lawsuit time. 

Jay
Jay

Yes, because it's just that simple to open and operate an MMC isn't it.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Medical marijuana is dead just look at the stats on the CDPHE website, Colorado cardholders are down 20% now in past 3 months. The real joker smokers want a new flavor.

Sean Swanson
Sean Swanson

Yes but that statistic may be misleading, as many patients including myself have been waiting for weeks to get their paperwork processed.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

That should work out perfect anyway, let them think you're closed and set up 2 more somewhere else, 1 to keep going, and 1 to make up for all the stuff that got taken.  Play the game, get taken down come back twice as big.

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