Cannabis Dispensaries Robbed During Civil Unrest

The United States is experiencing civil unrest as protests against police brutality following the brutal death of George Floyd have spread to cities across the nation. One of the foundations of ending cannabis prohibition has been the need to end racist policing practices against communities of color, who have experienced a disproportionate number of arrests and jailings despite cannabis use being about equal among all races. Unfortunately, armed criminals have taken advantage of the unrest to rob cannabis dispensaries, with the California Bay Area hit the worst. Oregon’s Finest was also targeted.

KCBS Radio reported:

The owner of a downtown Oakland cannabis dispensary said as many as 10 people broke into his business on Friday night and made off with thousands of dollars of products.

The front entryway to the ECO Cannabis store on Telegraph Avenue was shut Friday night, equipped with an elaborate security system to keep track of any activity. Later that evening, owner Kevin Ahaesy said it was broken into. 


He said police investigators told him two people were arrested on Saturday and that several West Oakland dispensaries were also robbed.

This from a Facebook post by my friend Debby Goldsberry, a longtime activist hero and the director of Magnolia Wellness in Oakland:

Friends. As you may know by now, Magnolia Oakland and many other dispensaries in the bay area were hit by armed robbers last night (not looters, not protesters, please be clear about that). We are a small, local, mostly woman operated company, with just this one small shop, and this will hit us hard. We were already barely hanging on with the virus and in survival mode.

They did take nearly everything, as the police did not respond for nearly an hour, giving them time to breach most of our security features. They also just totally trashed the place.

We will need help rebuilding, make no mistake about it. We are not owned by a big company, we have no nest egg, and we are still waiting to find out if our insurance will pay for any losses. We will likely have to lean heavily on this incredible community to help. We’ve already had so many inspirational calls and messages, and we thank you all. We will be back, and better than ever, make no mistake about it. It may take a week or two to get the shop rebuilt, and, then we will have to wait until the protests are calmed down, as it’s not safe to open right now.

NOW COMES THE IMPORTANT PART. This story is not about Magnolia Wellness. It’s about this nation, blistering in pain. It’s bubbled up, and can’t be stopped, no matter how much salve we put on it.

Virtually no one defends the actions of the Minneapolis police that killed George Floyd. Ending cannabis prohibition and the greater Drug War will help decrease the number of racist law enforcement encounters, but more reforms are needed, including mandatory body cameras, the implementation of de-escalation practices, and the ability to fire problematic officers. Let’s all demand justice, that policing reforms are implemented, and that systemic racism gets addressed. And let’s remember to help small businesses rebuild and thrive.

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