In a better-safe-than-sorry move, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) removed an online map that showed the locations of cannabis producers and processors in the state after a string of burglaries.
The LCB has not compiled data about burglarized cannabis companies since the inception of legal cannabis in 2014. Still, in November, at least three licensed cannabis producers and processors were the victims of a break-in. Some businesses had property damage, along with products, equipment and cash stolen. One store in Olympia has been broken into three times since opening in 2014.
The state’s public records laws mean that location information, including names, addresses and other information cannot be withheld by the LCB if the information is requested. That information is all available from public record requests.
Stakeholders in the state’s legalized cannabis industry want action from the LCB before a real violent crime takes place. Business owners are now requesting that the LCB track all reported crimes and communicate with law enforcement agencies in the state to counteract these crimes against law-abiding, licensed marijuana business owners.
Similarly, in California, the cannabis industry saw an increase in burglaries at retail locations in 2019. In Denver, recreational marijuana retailers have had as many as six armed robberies — in Denver alone — since November 2019, just a few short months ago. Washington state wants to avoid that trend.
To protect the safety and security of retail marijuana outlets, Gregory Foster, a cannabis industry analyst and member of Washington state’s Traceability Advisory Committee, is watching Senate Bill 6033. The bill would require law enforcement agencies to forward any offense report regarding any incident of first or second-degree robbery of a retail outlet to the Washington state patrol — within ten days of making a report if there is probable cause to believe that an offense has occurred — unless the case is under active investigation.
Likewise, according to the language in SB 6033, the Washington state patrol must then provide details of first or second-degree robbery incidents of a retail outlet to the LCB within ten days of the state patrol’s receipt of a report [from law enforcement agencies]. In the meantime, the burden falls on the retailer to install safety upgrades at their expense.