Cannabis Dispensaries Looted As Riots Rage Across U.S.

Amid the riots that have erupted in the United States in response to George Floyd's death, several cannabis business owners have had their dispensaries looted.

Last Friday, on the 25th of May, footage went viral of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man, pinned to the ground by police officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on Floyd's neck until Mr. Floyd passed away.

The footage re-ignited conversations in the United States and in several other countries around the world surrounding police brutality, with protests erupting throughout the streets as a result.

In the U.S., these protests quickly became riots in many states throughout the country, with over 30 buildings reported to have been lit on fire in Minneapolis, just a few miles from where the incident involving Mr. Floyd occurred. Widespread looting also took place, with reports of "thousands" of looters stealing from high-end fashion stores, car dealerships, Walmarts, Home Depots and other entire stores are being emptied out.

No industry has been spared from the looting, including the cannabis industry, with several reports of cannabis dispensaries being broken into, and the products being stolen.

One example was the Mission South Shore Marijuana Dispensary in Chicago, which was broken into with crowbars and baseball bats, despite having bulletproof glass windows.

Kris Krane, the president and co-founder of the dispensary told the Chicago Tribune that "everything of value was taken, including the marijuana."

"The store's been pretty much ransacked," said Krane, after reviewing camera footage of roughly 40 people breaking into the dispensary. "Nothing was going to hold that many people back."

In response to the riots, many stores have begun to board up their windows with plywood, and in Chicago, every cannabis dispensary has closed indefinitely.

In Los Angeles, two MedMen dispensaries were looted, with footage emerging on social media of people carrying bags of products out from the broken windows of the dispensary.

In San Francisco, a dispensary called the California Street Cannabis Company saw more than $10,000 of weed product looted from the store, with video footage showing eight robbers involved.

The lootings follow what had been a successful period for cannabis dispensaries, who were allowed to remain open during the COVID-19 crisis thanks to their designation as "essential" stores, with most dispensaries seeing increased sales during the period. However, because the cannabis industry remains largely unable to deal with financial institutions, they often carry high amounts of cash in-store, making them a hotspot for burglary.

Tensions across the country remain high, and Donald Trump has said he will deploy the military to prevent further "riots and lawlessness."

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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