Cannabis Drink Brand Fined $45,000 for Having Product On-Site at Mile High 420 Festival
Denver Packaging Co has 90-days to pay fines for seven violations committed at a 4/20 music festival.
Published on September 8, 2022

A Denver-based cannabis drink brand was recently fined almost $50,000 for violating several laws, including having product onsite at an event — a famous weed festival to celebrate April 20, no less. Denver Packaging Co., which also operates as Keef Brands, is being required to pay $45,000 in fines, according to the Denver Post. Of that amount, $30,000 is being held in suspension for one year in case the company commits more violations.

The shakedown happened at Denver’s Mile High Festival last 4/20, where Denver Packaging Co. had Keef Brands weed beverages on display at its booth, along with an advertising sign, and two full coolers of the products. Nothing unusual for a 4/20 festival in Denver. 

The issue was that cannabis brands participating in the event weren’t allowed to have any product onsite. (Sounds like the lamest 4/20 party of all time, if we’re being frank). Denver Packaging Co.’s high vibes quickly plummetted when Brooke Bearman, Denver’s Department of Excise and License Inspector, strolled up to the booth at the festival and flagged them for a number of violations — including trying to have a good time on 4/20. 

We’re kidding about that last part. But, according to city documents, event organizer Adam Schmidt told Bearman that “he had communicated with sponsors that they were not allowed to have any product onsite.”

When Andrew Vernon, the owner of Denver Packaging Co., arrived at the booth, he said the products came from Platte Valley Dispensary in Denver. He agreed to remove the products from the event.

The department ordered the Denver Packaging Co. to appear on July 21 to show why its retail and medical MIP manufacturer licenses shouldn’t be suspended or revoked altogether. According to documents issued two Thursdays ago, Denver Packaging Co. admitted to a total of seven violations, including unlawful acts, packaging, and labeling. They have 90-days to pay the fine in full.

“Denver Packaging Co. takes pride that for nearly the entirety of its eight years operating in Colorado, it never ran into any regulatory issues or complaints. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding on April 20 occurred between third-brand promoters, city investigators, and our staff, culminating in a documented violation by local regulators. (The city’s) allegations were very serious, and we accept full responsibility for our actions,” Veron wrote in an email to the Denver Post. “We are committed to lawful operations and continue to enjoy bringing our unique product to our enthusiastic Colorado customers.”

The Mile High 420 Festival is billed as the largest 420 festival in the world. But let it be known that a 4/20 party without weed for the people to consume is a sham. Coloradans protested the festival’s all-ages policy, citing concerns about youth exposure to weed. We speculate that this is likely why Bearman was in attendance that day in the first place and why the fines are so expensive.

Mile High has agreed to set its age limits to 21 and older from now on.

Hopefully, the festival will also agree to let brands offer and advertise cannabis products …on 4/20…the Black Friday of weed holidays… 

MERRY JANE is based in Los Angeles, California and is dedicated to elevating the discussion around cannabis culture.
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