Police in Oregon are investigating a burglary ring that targeted cannabis businesses, the Oregonian reports. As part of the investigation, Portland and Salem police seized $33,000 in cash, 30 pounds of cannabis, six pounds of hash oil, 16 firearms, and burglary tools, along with clothing and other evidence from the victimized businesses, the report says.
Portland Police Assistant Chief Andrew Sherer said on Twitter that one arrest had been made in the case and there were “more to follow.” Officials have not released any other information, citing the ongoing investigation.
In a highly publicized 2019 case, Shadowbox Farms, located in Southeast Portland, was burglarized for about $1 million in products. No arrest has been made in that case.
By and large, however, cannabis dispensaries do not lead to an uptick in crime in its neighborhood. A 2019 study published in Regional Science and Urban Economics actually found dispensaries reduce crime in their neighborhoods by about 19 percent, or 17 crimes per month per 10,000 residents. In 2018, a RAND-funded study published by the Institute of Labor Economics found “no significant impact of dispensaries on violent crime” in any of their models. They also found a 5.1 percent to 6.3 percent reduction in property crimes in counties that allowed dispensaries.
A University of Colorado at Denver study published last year found a slight uptick in crime around dispensaries that declines over time. In 2019, Denver, Colorado dispensaries were the target of five robberies and 122 burglaries, which was a three-year high. Denver Police believe as many as six of those robberies and break-ins are linked.
Cannabis businesses are often targeted because of the cash-only nature of the industry due to federal prohibition, which prevents cannabusinesses from accessing simple financial services.