Attacks on dispensaries in the Los Angeles area in California are getting more and more brazen and in some cases, violent. The latest incident involved suspects who drove a carjacked vehicle directly into an illegal cannabis dispensary in downtown Los Angeles in a smash-and-grab incident.
On July 12, a group of suspects carjacked a vehicle and robbed an unlicensed dispensary in the downtown L.A. area.
“Los Angeles police officers responded to a report of shots fired near Hooper Avenue and 15th Avenue in downtown L.A. at about 4 a.m. Wednesday,” CBS News reports. “A black car was driven through a steel-roller front gate at an illegal marijuana dispensary near the intersection.
Around five or six suspects reportedly stole a car—with the driver inside—at Washington Blvd. and Central Ave., about a half-mile away from the dispensary.
The suspects forced the driver in the trunk of the vehicle, then drove to the dispensary and smashed the car through the front of the building, most likely in reverse. After the suspects looted the dispensary, the victim was reportedly released at the scene of the break-in.
The carjacked driver was unharmed and is reportedly cooperating with police.
After the robbery, the suspects fled in a second vehicle and remained at large as of Wednesday morning.
The details of the amount of cannabis and cash that were taken was not released to the public, and since it was an unlicensed dispensary, they are unlikely to recover financially.
More Brazen Crimes in Los Angeles
Sound familiar? Escalations in violence or brazenness has been observed at several recent events in the Los Angeles area, which leads to retail workers having to work under stressful conditions.
Green Qween, a dispensary in downtown Los Angeles, was targeted by thieves for the second time since it opened last year. Green Qween co-owner Andrés Rigal told Eyewitness News the suspects tried to pull off the front gate using their car for leverage.
In that case, the suspects resorted to using power tools to cut open the front gate. Businesses can rarely survive incidents like this.
“You know, when this keeps happening … we’re not corporate funded, so we’re barely surviving as it is and the good thing is, every day is better for us, but when something like this happens, it’s such a devastating blow for us and it’s so hard to recover,” said Rigal.
Last December, a group of thieves broke into Silver Lake Caregivers Dispensary Group, a dispensary in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, stealing hundreds of pounds of cannabis.
“They seemed organized though, like they’ve done this before,” Toby Stein, owner of the Silver Lake Caregivers Dispensary Group, told KTLA.
In 2017, Los Angeles city leaders fielded the idea of a city-owned bank to help fund small businesses, development of affordable housing and cannabis entrepreneurs.
Other states face similar problems and it’s not unique to California. A 2022 proposal in Washington imposes harsher penalties for robbing cannabis retailers was approved by lawmakers in the state Senate last week.
The legislation, Senate Bill 5927, would tack on a year to the prison sentence of an individual convicted of first or second degree robbery of a cannabis shop—which, as local television station KING 5 noted, is “the same sentence that is given to someone who robs a pharmacy.”
The latest move on SB 5917 took place on March 10, when it was returned and sent back to Senate Rules Committee for third reading.
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