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Police: Teen-targeted Boulder marijuana, mushroom ring cracked

Purchases of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes are legal in Colorado, as long as buyers and sellers abide by state drug laws. Authorized retailers are permitted to sell up to an ounce of marijuana to state residents and quarter ounces to out-of-state residents. Customers must be at least 21 years old.

Central Park activities were under observation for over a month by Boulder police this spring. Authorities claimed they uncovered a ring of drug dealers making marijuana and psychedelic mushroom transactions with customers, that included teens as young as 14. Officers followed buyers after the deals and questioned them.

The first transaction was recorded by an officer in March. The customer, a 55-year-old man, apparently made a $10 marijuana purchase. He was in possession of less than a gram of the drug.

Plainclothes detectives later observed more drug deals, some involving more than a dozen teens. Individual purchases of $20 and under were made of psychedelic mushrooms and marijuana. Buyers reportedly told officers the drug ring was well known to students at Boulder High School.

An affidavit stated one alleged dealer was tracked to a marijuana dispensary. Detectives said the man left the shop and later shared his purchase with other Central Park dealers, who repackaged the marijuana in baggies. A dispensary worker said the customer displayed valid identification.

A Daily Camera update said 10 arrests were made including adults, ages 29 to 57, and two juveniles. The adults were charged with drug distribution, with separate felony charges for drug dealing near a school; the fate of the female juveniles was not reported. Distribution convictions could mean fines up to $1 million and prison terms as long as 32 years.

Colorado's eased marijuana restrictions lead many people to presume casual possession and sales are harmless. Unauthorized marijuana purchases are not legal and can create a criminal record with long-lasting consequences, like lost job and education prospects.

Source: Daily Camera, "Boulder police: Central Park drug ring sold to teens" Mitchell Byars, May. 15, 2014

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