Cannabis dispensaries and other licensees are still operating under an elevated risk of robbery as a combination of issues including police indifference and a lack of financial services make these companies a prime target for burglars. The issue is highlighted best by a recent string of dispensary robberies up and down the West Coast.
On the weekend of November 20-21 in Oakland, California, a coordinated mob of people traveling in what police described as a “roving band of vehicles” carried out a lengthy spree of smash-and-grab retail robberies. The criminals targeted a variety of cannabis operations, traditional retailers including jewelry and department stores, and pharmacies, CBS SF Bay Area reported.
The weekend was a frightening callback to a last year’s similar crime spree which took place during the nationwide social justice protests following the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by Minneapolis police. Some Bay Area businesses, like Oakland’s Purple Heart — which was the city’s longest-running cannabis dispensary — have yet to recover from the repeated burglaries.
Amber Sentner, the CEO of Oakland-based MAKR House, a cannabis distribution and infusions company, said at a news conference outside City Hall on Monday that cannabis businesses in her city are