ANOTHER Armed Robbery in Portland: Cannabis Businesses Need Banking Services Now

The Willamette Week recently reported on the crime spree facing Portland-area cannabis dispensaries as more than 100 retail stores have been burglarized over the last year. These violent attacks have left workers traumatized and one 44 year-old father has already senselessly lost his life. Cannabis legalization is here to stay and our elected officials are hurting too many people by avoiding their responsibility to a supermajority of voters that want cannabis prohibition to end. Legalizing normal banking services is a small step towards legalization that will have a huge impact for craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf and all of their vendors while it will liberally save lives. At this point, even if you oppose legalization, you should still want dispensaries to have normal banking services as forcing them to be cash-only endangers entire communities.

Unfortunately, there was another armed robbery yesterday evening in Portland, according to a press release from the Portland Police Bureau (the address has been edited after PPB issued a correction following its initial release):

On March 8, 2021, at about 8:25 p.m., Portland Police responded to a hit and run at Southeast Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard and Southeast Salmon Street. At least two people were seen running from one of the involved cars, leaving it behind blocking the street.

At about 8:27 p.m., a call came in regarding an armed robbery that just occurred at a marijuana store in the 3800 block of Southeast Main Street, down the street from the hit and run. It was apparent the two calls were related.

Officers arrived to both scenes, contacted victims and witnesses, preserved evidence and looked for the suspects. Officers recovered two handguns and other evidence from the car the suspects left behind, but did not find the suspects.

This is an ongoing investigation. If anyone has information about this case, please reference the case 21-62894 and e-mail crimetips@portlandoregon.gov .

Anonymous tips can be sent through Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 cash for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime and tipsters can remain anonymous.

With so many friends working in the cannabis industry, I’m feeling extremely anxious about these robberies, I can only imagine what budtenders and other dispensary employees are feeling. It’s a scary world out there already, without having to wonder if armed burglars are going to target your business solely because federal law hasn’t caught up with reality yet. The Drug War has cost us too much already and even when we take steps to rollback prohibition, its deadly consequences still reverberate throughout the cannabis community. There are obviously a lot of serious issues facing Congress, but the SAFE Banking Act needs to be a priority. The wave of armed robberies will start spreading to other cities and states and more lives will be unnecessarily lost. There’s not time to waste. The cannabis banking bill has wide bipartisan support and Oregon’s Earl Blumenauer, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have been great champions of the common-sense proposal. In fact, all of Oregon’s congressional delegation voted to pass the measure, so spread the word for friends to contact their representatives and urge them to pass the SAFE Banking Act. Lives literally depend upon it.

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