Dispensary Robberies in Denver Hit a 3-Year High in 2019
Cannabis business break-ins still represent less than 1% of all crime in Denver, but that hasn’t stopped industry insiders from beefing up security.
Published on January 21, 2020

Thieves hit Denver dispensaries and cultivation sites at the highest rate in three years over the course of 2019, leaving Mile High pot shops and pot producers worried about what the new decade has in store.

According to the Denver Post, dispensaries within city limits alone called the cops to report five armed robberies and 122 burglaries last year, up from 120 burglaries and just one robbery in 2018. The year-long trend was capped by a rash of robberies in December that police believe were the work of one organized team of thieves.

And while most cannabis users might imagine a few opportunistic stoners robbing a dispensary to secure an unlimited stash, Denver cops and pot shop owners say that the thefts have been all about the Benjamins, and not the bud. 

“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 that there will be piles of money at these places if they come in,” John Goutell, general counsel for Frosted Leaf, a Denver dispensary that has experienced eight break-ins over the past six years, told the Post.

Until federal regulations are shifted to finally allow state-legal dispensaries to do business with major banking institutions, local industry insiders are skeptical that the robberies will slow down.

Outside of Colorado, states across the legal weed landscape have seen their own fair share of dispensary and cultivation facility robberies over the past few years, with many focused on cash more than grass.

“We probably won’t see any relief in these kinds of robberies until these businesses aren’t forced to deal only in cash,” Goutell said.

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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