Washington Sees More Violence at Legal Cannabis Shops

Tacoma and Seattle area adult-use cannabis retailers have been subject to a wave of crime and violence lately, due in part to the cash-only nature of the business.

Full story after the jump.

Legal adult-use cannabis businesses in the Tacoma and Seattle, Washington areas experienced a continued trend of violence over the weekend, the Seattle Times reports. The latest incident happened in Tacoma Saturday night after 10:00 pm when an employee at the licensed cannabis retailer World of Weed was fatally shot during an alleged robbery.

Police and firefighters quickly arrived on the scene but were unable to save the man’s life and police are investigating the shooting as a homicide, the Times reports.

Charles Traversie, a neighbor of the shop, told Seattle’s Fox 13 that World of Weed “never had problems before,” but he “knew sooner or later … it was going to probably get hit soon.”

Just two days earlier, on Thursday, an armed employee at a Covington dispensary fatally shot a man who was attempting to rob the store. Earlier that week, another fatality tied to the cannabis industry took place when police got in a shootout with an armed robbery suspect who was fleeing a Belleview cannabis retailer, the Times says.

Adult-use retail cannabis locations have become targets due to the cash-only nature of the business, which is the result of the substance’s Schedule I status under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Consequently, banks, which are regulated by the federal government, must generally avoid accepting cannabis business deposits or processing debit or credit card payments. This lack of access to banking results in the stores accumulating large amounts of cash throughout the day, which makes them inviting targets for armed robbers.

Federal lawmakers have for years attempted to pass the SAFE Banking Act, which would give cannabis businesses access to the federal banking system, but their efforts have so far failed.

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