Many California cannabis dispensaries were robbed amid the weekend’s chaotic and widespread protests against police brutality.
In Los Angeles, people were filmed ransacking Cookies, a cannabis dispensary owned by rapper-turned-entrepreneur Berner. In a video response posted to his Instagram, however, Berner said he supported and stood with the protests despite the collateral damage his business suffered.
“It’s extremely unfortunate what happened to our store tonight on Melrose. But as a human living in the world we’re living in today, I cannot expect anything less until justice is served. See, we can rebuild our store, but you cannot bring someone back to life.” — Berner, in a video statement posted on Instagram
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Twitter users filmed multiple MedMen dispensary locations being ransacked throughout Los Angeles, as well.
— ABRACADABS (@AbraCaDabsFest) May 31, 2020
— inVerse, inc (@junbangu) May 31, 2020
Dispensaries in the Bay Area experienced a similar fate, KCBS Radio reports. ECO Cannabis in Oakland confirmed its Telegraph Ave location was broken into and burglarized over the weekend, with about 10 looters making off with thousands of dollars worth of cannabis and other merchandise.
Magnolia Wellness, another Oakland-based dispensary, was robbed multiple times over the weekend and reported significant losses. Magnolia’s owner Debby Goldsberry wrote in a Facebook post that the business supported the ongoing protests and that the robbers were “armed criminals,” not protestors or looters.
“There has been an organized crime ring targeting dispensaries for years, and with everything going on, as opportunists, they took advantage of the chaos. We fully stand behind and along side our fellow protesters and want to make the clear distinction between what happened here and at the other dispensaries, and the important movement and protests happening around the country.” — Statement posted by a separate Magnolia Wellness representative
Berkleyside reports that looters on Sunday night patrolled Berkeley in “vehicle caravans” that took advantage of the protests, performing smash-and-grabs at multiple commercial locations. Cannabis Buyers Club Berkeley and Farmacy Berkeley, two cannabis dispensaries, were among Berkeley’s looted businesses.
Protestors have been demonstrating around the U.S. in response to the May 25 police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis who was being detained by several officers. Bystanders’ video recordings of Floyd’s death show him telling police “I can’t breathe” while a white police officer — who has since been charged with manslaughter and 3rd-degree murder — kneels on his neck and head for nearly nine minutes. There has also been outrage over the recent death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was shot and killed by police in her Louisville, Georgia home during a botched drug raid, and numerous others who have been killed or died in police custody in recent years.