The passage of the bill in the Senate follows rising concerns over violent robberies at cannabis shops. This bill would make improvements for not just the benefit of the retailers themselves, but for the public safety of the community as a whole.
“When people would ask the infamous bank robber Willie Sutton why he robbed banks, Sutton simply replied, ‘Because that’s where the money is.’ Well, that’s why people rob marijuana retailers. Due to federal banking rules, these businesses are almost entirely cash-only operations, making them a target for robberies and a magnet for criminals.” ~Bill sponsor Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside)
Tom Bout, the founder of the Cannabis Professionals Network, made a spreadsheet tracking the crimes he could find records for. He counted more than 30 crimes since November 2021.
A spokesperson for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board said it has been working to communicate safety guidelines with business owners.
The state Liquor and Cannabis Board said it is communicating these safety tips with cannabis retailers:
- Hire armed security guards
- Make frequent cash deposits so there isn’t much cash available in shops
- Post signs in businesses explaining that staff don’t have access to much cash
- Clearly communicate safety guidelines with staff so they know what to do in the event of a robbery.
Bout said the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board is not doing enough to protect cannabis retailers.
“They have not communicated with the stores. Like, you’d think that they would put on an alert to let everyone know that this has happened,” he said during a previous interview.
Interesting times, no? Years ago, selling and possessing marijuana was illegal. Nowadays, we’re passing laws bringing enhanced penalties to people who rob our pot shops.
Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.