Better Business Bureau Issues Warning About Two Online Pot Businesses

Better Business Bureau Issues Warning About Two Online Pot Businesses

By Paul Gaita 06/27/17

According to the BBB, the online sites feature advertising claims and mail delivery services that appear to be fraudulent.

Image: 
two hands holding a marijuana joint

A pair of internet businesses alleging to sell and deliver marijuana products has generated an investigation by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for a host of infractions, including violations of state and federal law.

The venerable consumer protection organization issued a warning on June 15 after receiving a tip through its ScamTracker tool about a pair of online entities— Denver Marijuana and Denver Smoke Buds—both purporting to be Colorado-based businesses that sells cannabis, edibles and related products to U.S. and international customers. 

However, neither company was registered with the Colorado Secretary of State—a requirement for a marijuana retail business license in the Centennial State—and no verifiable owner, address or telephone number could be found for either company. Additionally, both sites feature advertising claims and mail delivery services that appear to be entirely fraudulent, including "100% satisfaction guarantees" and "best of" awards from local newspapers that do not exist.

Denver Marijuana, which has also operated under the name Denver Marijuana Online, advertises the sale and delivery of not only marijuana products but also bath and "research chemicals." One of the physical addresses listed for the company is actually a liquor store, while a more recent address has no property at that location. The telephone number for the company corresponds to a Google Voice number with a Cleveland, Ohio area code, while a link for their "research chemicals"—a term associated with experimental and/or synthetic drugs—takes users to a separate website with a Denver address that appears to be a residence.

Denver Marijuana has earned additional flags from the BBB over issues of trademark infringement and advertising claims. The site falsely advertised itself as having BBB accreditation, prompting an advertising review in February of this year. The site removed the accreditation, but has yet to respond to the BBB's inquiry. A second advertising review case was opened in March over the site's use of a "100% satisfaction guarantee" seal, which remains on the Denver Marijuana site. 

Like Denver Marijuana, Denver Smoke Buds alleges to sell and deliver marijuana and related products, but also purports to provide its customers with a guide to acquiring what it calls an "online medical marijuana card." It also has no verifiable owner and obfuscates its location by listing both Denver and Atlanta, Georgia as its headquarters, though no registered business under that name is listed with the Georgia Secretary of State. 

The BBB is also investigating the site for a host of unverified advertising claims. The company claims to have won "best of" awards from the Colorado Springs Independent in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and the Colorado Springs Gazette in 2015, though the latter publication does not publish any such award for marijuana dispensaries.

Additionally, the organization has expressed concerns over statements regarding "guaranteed delivery" and "Hurry up! Before it's sold out!" featured on the site. In both cases, the BBB is urging customers to exercise caution before dealing with these companies.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites. 

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