D.C. cannabis delivery service was indicted judge refuses to hand out prison sentences

The Washington Post reports

Although he knew marijuana sales were illegal under federal law, Pennington created a website where customers could place orders, and he had delivery workers fan out daily in bikes or cars. Hoping to create a professional atmosphere, he hired middle managers and a full-time accountant. The company generated at least $4 million in sales from 2017 to 2022, according to court records.

“I tried out all these services, figuring out what they were lacking in,” Pennington said. “I remember I went in for a service, and the guy just hands me it out of the bag with the window cracked this, you know, three inches. And I was like … this is not going to create a good, healthy environment.”

Pennington, who had been a restaurant manager in D.C., saw himself as a pioneer in what he predicted would become a booming market for recreational marijuana in the nation’s capital.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S.prosecutors saw him as the leader of a runaway criminal enterprise.

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Leader of Marijuana Delivery Service Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

For Immediate Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Washington D.C. man pleaded guilty today to laundering roughly $3,500,000 generated by the illegal sale of marijuana and THC.

According to court documents, Connor Pennington, 39, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Pennington was the Chief Executive Officer of JointVentures, LLC., a company that operated primarily under the name “Joint Delivery” as a delivery service of marijuana and THC products, including THC vape cartridges, wax, and edibles. JointVentures was never licensed as a medical marijuana dispensary in any state or the District of Columbia.

JointVentures operated the distribution and delivery side of the enterprise out of a residential building in downtown D.C., and delivered its products to customers using delivery drivers or cyclists. The business generated nearly $1.5 million in 2018 alone. By 2021, in just the first three quarters of the year, JointVentures generated well over $2.3 million in revenue. Pennington oversaw and approved of a scheme by which he and other representatives of the company deposited cash in denominations less than $10,000 into several bank accounts the company operated, thus allowing JointVentures to avoid scrutiny from the banks and to disguise the source of the cash.

Pennington is scheduled to be sentenced on May 2. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division; and Damon E. Wood, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine Rumbaugh and David A. Peters are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:22-cr-127.

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