April 16, 2014 | Vol.54 N.16

New marijuana law brings concerns for higher crime

I will admit that I did not vote for the legalization of marijuana here in the state of Washington. While I have many concerns about this law one of my biggest is giving criminals even more opportunities to commit crimes.

Shoplifting has gone up since voters chose to allow privately owned stores to carry and sell hard liquor instead of allowing only state owned agencies to sell it. It only makes sense that having marijuana sold in retail storefronts around the state would create more opportunities for crime.

Currently federal law prohibits banks from taking money from drug sales, which means that there is an abundance of cash within these businesses.

Where are marijuana storeowners keeping the cash? I’m sure this is a question criminals are asking themselves.

Just last week a medical marijuana dispensary located at the 14500 block of State Route 2 was robbed at gunpoint.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office sent out a press release stating the following, “at around 8 a.m., a man with a facemask broke through the window of the business and held three employees of the business at gunpoint. Witnesses believe that the suspect stole at least $15,000 in marijuana before fleeing the area.”

Deputies were unable to find the suspect.

I understand that the cause and effect of illegal drugs is also crime, but it seems that having retail stores around the state invites criminals with easier access to drugs and cash.

While our state continues to figure out exactly how all of this marijuana legalization is going to work, local governments, mostly police departments, will be trying to figure out how to keep these types of crime at a minimum while storeowners have to figure out what to do with the cash they aren’t allowed to deposit into bank accounts.

My concern is for the safety of my community and those living and working within it. I hope to see higher levels of security at marijuana retail stores, which in turn, should help keep the criminal element away from those stores.

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