COLORADO: Cheeba Chews began as an experiment in a home kitchen and grew into one of the biggest successes of Colorado’s medical marijuana industry, winning awards and attracting fans with the promise of being “potent, consistent and discreet.”
Then, last spring, the medicated chocolate taffy began disappearing from shelves. There was no public explanation other than a letter from CEO James Howler citing “internal changes.” He promised things would get back on track soon.
The reasons behind the upheaval — spelled out more precisely in records and correspondence reviewed by The Denver Post — provide an inside look at how questionable marijuana business structures and state regulatory delays in scrutinizing them can lead to problems.
Cheeba Chews’ case also exposes a blind spot in the state’s regulation of edibles companies: By licensing out production, owners effectively can skirt the scrutiny that others in the business face, including criminal background checks and Colorado residency requirements.
Cheeba Chews stopped production after the state in March denied the business license application of Green Sky Confections, which had a licensing agreement to produce and distribute the brand.