Cannabis dispensary owners are worried by a second spate of pre-planned and organsied robberies of premises statewide and some are suggesting that law enforcement just doesn’t care .
Law enforcement’s failure to protect cannabis businesses—even after they’d been burglarized once, twice, or, in the case of at least one San Francisco dispensary, BASA, four times—is shaking faith in marijuana legalization as a social experiment. Cannabis businesses pay possibly the highest taxes of any merchants in California. With state and local sales taxes as well as cultivation and excise taxes, the tax bill for legal weed in some cities exceeds 40 percent—a steep cost of doing business that, some merchants say, still doesn’t earn legal cannabis any state protection.
And now, rumors of a second wave of dispensary robberies this weekend—and significant doubts that police will be able (or willing) to respond—are leading cannabis entrepreneurs to prepare defend their businesses by themselves. This in in turn is casting doubt on the value, and the long-term viability, of legalization.
“It’s everywhere. It’s not just Oakland, they’re talking about hitting all the dispensaries all over California: Vallejo, Sacramento, LA, the Bay Area,” said Shawn Richard, the majority owner of Berner’s on Haight, the Cookies-branded dispensary in San Francisco.
San Francisco police have arrested at least ten people in connection with last month’s robberies, according to a police spokesman. But there are no reports of any charges being filed, or the crimes being “solved.”