Businesses in the cannabis space have always faced the risk of burglaries and robberies. For starters, they sell a product that is in extremely high demand both on the legal and black markets. Secondly, marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I controlled drug has made it difficult for cannabis businesses to access banking services because most banks refuse to serve cannabis businesses. This forces them to transact on a cash-only basis, meaning cannabis businesses tend to have large amounts of cash on-site.
Consequently, marijuana businesses present an attractive target to criminals looking to make a quick buck. Over the last couple of months, the rate of robberies in the cannabis sector has spiked. Businesses in San Francisco alone reported more than 25 break-ins, stolen property and millions of dollars in damage in the last two months. As such, a leading cannabis advocacy group is providing resources that will guide marijuana businesses on how they can mitigate and respond to instances of theft.
Americans for Safe Access has recently developed a Robbery Preparedness Guide to help marijuana businesses respond to the increase in crime. Rising crime is a nationwide issue, the advocacy group says, and the guide is meant to help keep cannabis dispensaries, staff and patients safe. The free guide will be instrumental in helping cannabis businesses create security plans and policies to help mitigate burglaries and robberies. It provides information on how cannabis business owners should prepare their businesses, what they should do during and after robberies, and other things they can do to secure your premises.
Additional suggestions include creating and enforcing policies on locking up, inventory storage and management, installing visible security cameras and efficient alarm systems, regularly changing when cash is moved from the shop, doing what the robbers say to keep the interactions as short as possible and calling the police as soon as possible after a crime has been committed. Robberies in the cannabis space have become so prevalent that cannabis businesses in Oakland, California, banded together and requested that officials provide a tax amnesty which would protect and sustain small and minority-owned businesses that have lost up to $5 million to robberies.
Lawmakers are also working to provide the cannabis industry with sufficient banking protections via legislation that would protect banks that choose to work with companies in the cannabis space. With access to financial services, cannabis businesses won’t need to operate on a cash-only basis, eliminating one of the major reasons they are at risk of robberies. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (“SAFE”) Banking Act, which would allow cannabis businesses to access banking services without fear of federal reprisal, has advanced past the House five times but is yet to pass the Senate.
Only federal reform would address many of the hurdles that licensed marijuana companies such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS) face as they try to balance between adhering to enabling state laws while also being cognizant of the prohibitive stance of the federal government.
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