“Everyone in the industry is having nightmares,” says Michael Elliot, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a powerful young lobby in Colorado. “You hit a 7-Eleven, you’ll get 20 bucks. You hit a dispensary, you’ll get $300,000 on a good day,” adds Mitch Morrissey, District Attorney for Denver. “It’s only a matter of time before someone gets shot.”
Since 2010, the new pot barons have been required to install alarms and surveillance cameras, and most secure all cash and retail pot in a floor-bolted safe overnight. That helps limit losses, but the thieves keep coming. They throw bricks through windows, and tunnel under floors. One team tore away the locks on a grow house with a set of chains and a Subaru Outback. Another crashed an Audi through a warehouse door.
This is a great example of how the prohibition and its effects are often far more dangerous than the plant.
The Obama administration promised to work fixing this banking issue back in September and two weeks ago Attorney General Eric Holder said new recommendations will be out “very soon.” For now, though, we are still waiting and the situation remains needlessly dangerous.
Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy
Photo by Mike Lindsey, used under Creative Commons license