Cash-only marijuana shops have become the target of armed robbers. A recent victim was 24-year-old Colorado pot store guard Travis Mason, who was shot at Green Heart pot dispensary in Aurora, Denver. Mason was a former marine and has left behind a wife and three children. Another guard in San Bernardino, a 35-year-old Victorville man was also recently shot in the face.
According to the LA Times, the robbers are still at large, and a $12,000 reward is being offered for their capture. Though the robbers got away with nothing in these cases, thieves left with $100,000 in cash during a separate break-in in Seattle last year.
Speaking to the LA Times, Blue Line Protection Group’s Michael Jerome said that these are the incidents that remind us that ‘the cash-based nature of the legal cannabis industry’ makes stores ‘prime targets’.
Moments such as this remind us that the cash-based nature of the legal cannabis industry here in Colorado makes these dispensaries and cultivation facilities prime targets.
Speaking of the tough situation the industry is in, Executive Director of the Marijuana Industry Group Michael Elliott said that the ‘sad situation underscores the public safety risk.’
This incredibly sad situation underscores the public safety risk faced by our industry due to the fact that we don’t have access to banking.
According to Huffington Post, the marijuana industry is the fastest growing in the US, and reports show that it may make $11 billion annually by 2019. The Washington Times reports that this April 20, Colorado dispensaries sold $7.3 million worth of legal product, breaking previous records.
Marijuana is currently legal in 25 states, including Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. Recently, House Republicans blocked Democratic-sponsored legislation leaning towards putting plastic and electronic payments in place in stores, instead of cash. Meanwhile other decisions on cannabis laws are currently being made, as the DEA is set to decide whether or not Marijuana has any medicinal value.