Larimer man who kept “non-essential” smoke shops open despite County orders, gets arrested inside Loveland store

Larimer man who kept “non-essential” smoke shops open despite County orders, gets arrested inside Loveland store

In a surprise to no one, man gets arrested for breaking the law

VicesApril 14, 2020 By Will Brendza

The economic shutdown COVID has initiated is forcing a lot of local businesses into treacherous waters.

Many have had to close their doors (at the risk of closing them for good), some have had to start selling their supplies or stocks of spirits in order to pay overhead, and still others have had to change everything about their businesses to stay open. A lot of Colorado’s local establishments stand to sink beneath the waves of these strange times, forever.

Unless of course, they never actually stop doing business at all — despite the County and State orders, and despite the community’s saftey at large.

Such was the case for one Jonah Vincent Ricke, a Larimer man, and owner of the local One Love smoke shops.

Image courtesy of Larimer County Police Department. 

Ricke was so hell-bent on maintaining his operations and providing vape juice, e-cigarettes, joint papers, pipes, bongs and hookahs to his community, that he decided to stay open. Larimer County’s Health and Environment Department be damned!

Well, things didn’t go so well for our man Ricke. Despite his honest inclination to keep One Love open despite the severity of the epidemic that’s been swirling all around us, Ricke was forced by police to close his doors.

And, in the process, he was arrested, cuffed and taken to the county jail, himself…

For background: Ricke owns two smoke shops, one in Fort Collins and one in Loveland — both called One Love. When Larimer County started closing businesses because of COVID, they deemed smoke shops like Ricke’s “unessential.” They were too low of value, and too high a risk for spreading the disease and were subsequently ordered to close their operations.

Which, probably not only conjured up images of bankruptcy and business failure in Ricke’s mind, but which also likely rubbed him the wrong way (who the hell is the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment to tell him that his business wasn’t essential?!).

In defiance of that order, and in fact, in defiance of the state order that only “essential” businesses should remain open, Ricke kept his smoke shops a'smokin’. Nothing was going to stop his One Love train! 

Except, law enforcement, of course. The County had received numerous complaints from both businesses and individuals that the One Love shops were continuing operations. So, both businesses were contacted simultaneously by the police, and ordered to cease and desist. The employees were all cooperative with the fuzz, but when Ricke heard that the police had showed up at his shops to close them down, he decided that he was going to do something about it.

The County Judge had also issued an arrest warrant for Ricke earlier that day, informing Ricke that he was a wanted man. Police advised him against intervening at either of his store locations, when he was notified of the court proceedings. Nevertheless, Ricke our ill-fated hero, drove down to his Loveland store.

The police were there and waiting for him. He ignored their orders when they told him not to enter the store, and was promptly arrested on the spot, inside his own business. Ricke was booked on three misdemeanor allegations: Unlawful Acts Public Health Act, Obstructing Government Operations, and Resisting Arrest. His bond has not yet been set.

It’s a twisted tale. A story of a man who wanted to stay afloat, wanted to save his business from certain failure, keep his employees employed and serve his community all of their smoking needs. But it’s also a story of a man who was needlessly putting employees and his community at risk, a man who defied the State and County orders to close his non-essential business, and who defied all of the advice and orders from law enforcement when shit hit that fan.

It is the story of Jonah Ricke and his One Love smoke shops — and what an oddity it is. 

This COVID world just keeps getting weirder.