Somewhere between the lines in the new recreational-marijuana laws is an amorphous gray area where it's not exactly clear what's legal and what's going to get you arrested.
And driven by the theory that if something's not forbidden then it's allowed, creative entrepreneurs across Colorado are making money in that muddy space. They're specifically seizing on the section of the new law that says an individual can transfer up to an ounce of cannabis to somebody else, as long as it's free. One local example is Club 710, where folks can hit a physical location to partake of free pot products after paying admission.
But another Colorado Springs company has combined the uncertainty of Amendment 64 with the limitations of the medical-marijuana-minded Amendment 20 — mainly, that you have to be a registered patient who can only purchase cannabis at physical locations between certain hours — to create Billygoatgreen MMJ. It's a delivery service that, despite the name, caters to anybody 21 and up.
"Why waste your time and energy driving to and dealing with a dispensary when you can just call us and have your bud delivered directly to you?" asks a January posting from its Facebook page, which is full of offerings like $55 quarter-ounces of Sour Kush. "You could be getting high right now," exclaims another. "Call or text us at 719-213-1740 and get some chronic delivered, for crying out loud."
The marijuana itself is free. Payments actually are "suggested donation[s] towards researching [marijuana] and improving our cultivation operation," explain the business owners in an e-mail to the Independent. (Fair to say theirs is a strong suggestion: If you don't "donate," the delivery person doesn't hand over your order.)
Despite their bravura, it's clear that the Billygoatgreen folks recognize the hazards of their business. They declined to provide the Indy with their names, offering only that they're a husband-and-wife duo in their 30s who recently came to the area after growing and delivering MMJ to indigent patients in southern Colorado.
"We own a home outside of Springs on quite a bit of land where we grow all of our medicine," reads an e-mail. "[It's] mostly indoors in a greenhouse but we have a few plants outside as well."
Outside of social media, Billygoatgreen posts on Craigslist and backpage.com, the latter advertising delivery availability for those in the Springs, Falcon, Peyton, Ellicott, Yoder and Fountain. If the posts stay up (as opposed to being flagged as inappropriate), the couple says, they might take 30 calls in a day, every last one legal.
"If I show up at your house with less than an ounce of marijuana, I'm 21, you're 21, and I say, 'Hey dude, it cost me 50 bucks in gas to get over here,' and you give me 50 bucks for my gas, there's nothing illegal," says Lt. Mark Comte with the Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Division. "I mean, you and I both know what's going on with it, but they know what the loopholes are right now."
Brian Vicente, a Denver attorney and co-author of Amendment 64, says, regardless, anyone in the gray should play it safe. "If they are operating in this area, there's some legal backing for it, but it's not black-and-white clearly legal," he says. "But what is clearly illegal is for you to sell me a joint. So if it is looking like a sale, people need to be concerned."