Denver Auditor’s Office Googles illegal marijuana deliveries, finds illegal marijuana deliveries

The finding was part of a larger audit on marijuana taxation in the city.

The Lightshade dispensary on 6th Avenue. April 1, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Lightshade dispensary on 6th Avenue. April 1, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The Denver Auditor’s Office released a report on Thursday on taxation in the city’s marijuana industry calling out the city’s finance department for not effectively collecting taxes.

But the office stumbled upon something else during its auditing process: businesses illegally delivering weed in the city.

Auditor’s Office spokesperson Tayler Overschmidt said it found at least three unlicensed weed delivery services after Googling them last year as part of the taxation audit.

“We didn’t dig super-deep into that since it wasn’t specifically what we were looking at the time,” Overschmidt said. “We saw the three then reported it to the Treasury (Division).”

Denver doesn’t have legal marijuana deliveries; city law explicitly bans them. However, the city’s licensing department is looking into creating such a license. While state law allows marijuana delivery, each municipality or city needs to adopt the law.

The release Thursday said the city’s Treasury Division in the city’s finance department hasn’t identified businesses that are operating and delivering without a license.

City finance department spokesperson Julie Smith said in an email that illegal activity is reported to the police.

“We currently have policies and procedures in place that allow for information sharing and collaboration with our partners at DPD and Excise and Licensing and when we become aware of any illegally operating marijuana delivery businesses (or any type of business), we report it to them,” Smith said in an email. “We are enhancing our existing policies and procedures for identifying such businesses in accordance with the recommendation.”

Because illegal marijuana deliveries were not the primary focus of the audit, Overschmidt said the officer didn’t really have recommendations or suggestions for how to address it. Overschmidt said the Treasury Division was not aware of the three delivery businesses.

The audit released Thursday, which is available online, mostly deals with tax collection. It concluded the Treasury Division is not effectively ensuring marijuana taxes are paid and reported due to practices the auditor’s office labeled inefficient. The division is responsible for collecting, recording and depositing city taxes and revenue, according to the auditor’s office.

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