In the wake of the recent armed robberies targeting marijuana businesses, Washington state has partnered with a private company to give cannabis businesses access to a free security check so that experts can advise the businesses about what specific steps each company needs to strengthen in order to reduce the likelihood of being adversely affected by this crime wave.
This security assessment is an offer from the Liquor and Cannabis Board (“LCB”) of the state, and the program will be implemented by Setracon, a security firm based in Tacoma. Currently, there are 180 retail marijuana businesses registered in Washington. All these firms are eligible to undergo the free security assessment, which has the following objectives;
- Assessing the possible risks a retail outlet faces
- Reviewing the specific threats that a particular retail business faces
- Evaluating and documenting the current steps the business is taking to safeguard itself; provide extra measures that the business can take to beef up security
- Giving the retailers a detailed report of the findings obtained during the security assessment
This intervention by the LCB comes after at least 50 robberies targeting cannabis shops were reported during the first quarter of this year. One of those robberies resulted in an employee of a cannabis shop being fatally shot by the robbers.
How did things get out of hand? Under current federal law, marijuana businesses are deemed to be illegal and therefore cannot access banking services even though these firms pay hefty federal taxes. This means that the rapidly growing industry is, for the most part, dependent on cash transactions, thus providing criminal elements with an attractive target.
Several attempts have been made to pass cannabis banking legislation so that financial institutions are protected from being negatively impacted by federal agencies if they accept clients that are state-legal marijuana firms. However, the Senate has blocked each of those attempts to enact an enabling law protecting banks that work with the marijuana industry.
It is in light of this federal inaction that Washington state has elected to take some measures to address the deteriorating security of legitimate marijuana businesses within its jurisdiction. One of the planned measures includes a series of training activities aimed at addressing the locality specific security challenges that various businesses face. This particular program is scheduled to begin now through August.
These measures will hopefully slow down the rate at which the crime wave is escalating, but the ultimate solution could be ending federal marijuana prohibition or at least allowing banks to work with the players such as American Cannabis Partners in the cannabis industry so that no cash is present in retail shops to serve as a magnet to robbers.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to American Cannabis Partners are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACP
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