Cannabis dispensary robberies and break-ins in the Denver, Colorado metro-area reached a three-year high in 2019, the Denver Post reports. Dispensaries in the city reported five robberies and 122 burglaries last year, up from one robbery and 120 burglaries in 2018; from 2016 to 2017, dispensary burglaries actually fell from 169 to 83.
According to Denver Police data, cannabis industry-related crimes accounted for 0.3 percent of the city’s total offenses in 2018 and the most common crime in the space is burglary of a controlled substance, a class 2 felony. Police believe that as many as six of the recent robberies in the Denver area are linked.
John Goutell, general counsel for Frosted Leaf – whose three Denver locations have been burglarized after hours eight times since 2014, along with a robbery at its Cherry Creek location last month during which two employees were held at gunpoint by four men – told the Post that the robberies will probably continue “until these businesses aren’t forced to deal only in cash.”
“With all the stories that have been published about reaching certain tax collection milestones – you hear about a billion dollars collected – there’s this misconception there will be piles of money at these places if they come in.” – Goutell, to the Post
Cash isn’t the only target, Denver police Cmdr. James Henning explained in the report, calling stolen cannabis products “like cash in hand” and that a $1,200 pound in Colorado is worth up to $3,500 on the East Coast.