As protests and civil unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police continue in cities across the country, cannabis dispensaries from coast to coast have been the target of looters and organized thieves. As of Monday morning, at least 30 dispensaries had reported damage or product losses from looting. But as more accounts of targeted cannabis retailers are compiled from media reports and social media posts, it’s now clear that at least 50 cannabis retailers have been affected in the United States.
California Bears The Brunt Of Violence
In California, the nation’s largest legal pot market, dozens of cannabis retailers have fallen victim to the unrest. After three of its shops in Los Angeles were looted on Friday evening, MedMen announced over the weekend that all of its dispensaries nationwide would be closed until further notice. Cypress Hill’s B Real, the owner of six Dr. Greenthumb dispensaries in California including one in San Francisco that was looted, called for peace as the violence raged Friday night.
“Today as a country we hit a low point,” B Real posted on Twitter. “Rioting, looting, and burning down business all during a pandemic isn’t going to make the change needed. It will only set us back. Protest peacefully and remove the instigators that aren’t there in the name of George Floyd.”
Other California dispensaries affected by the unrest include: In the Los Angeles area, Cookies Melrose, LA Kush, Sherbinskis, Sweet Flower, and The Pottery. In the San Francisco Bay Area, The Apothecarium Castro, BASA Collective, Blüm, Blunts+Moore, California Street Cannabis Company, Connected San Francisco, Cookies, Dutchman’s Flat, ECO Cannabis, Farmacy, Grass Roots, The Green Cross, Harborside Health Center in Oakland and San Leandro, Magnolia Wellness, Medithrive, Mission Cannabis Club, Moe Greens, Oakland Organics, Pytologie, Smoakland, SPARC, and two locations of Urbana were attacked in the violence. In Sacramento, NUG and the Kana Company were looted, as well as One Plant in El Sobrante, and VHHC in Vallejo.
Up the coast from California in Oregon, the Firehorse Trading Company in Eugene and Oregon’s Finest in Portland suffered damage and loss.
Chicago Shops Also Hit
Cannabis dispensaries in Chicago, where legal recreational sales began on January 1, were also targeted by looters during demonstrations. At Mission South Shore in South Chicago, president and co-founder Kris Krane said that 30 to 40 looters entered the business Sunday afternoon after employees had vacated the premises.
“The store’s been pretty much ransacked,” said Krane. “Nothing was going to hold that many people back.”
Additional retailers hit by thieves and vandals in Chicago, where marijuana stores have been closed indefinitely, include Dispensary 33 and Sunnyside.
East Coast Dispensaries Not Spared
Cannabis retailers on the East Coast have also been affected by looting since the death of Floyd. Jim Cacioppo, the chairman and CEO of Jushi Holdings, said that two of its Beyond/Hello dispensaries were not spared during the uprising in Philadelphia.
“We fully support an individual’s right to freedom of speech and the touching peaceful demonstrations that we have seen around the country. We are heartbroken by the murder of George Floyd and the pain it is causing communities across the country that we not only work in, but live and love,” Cacioppo said in a press release.
“Unfortunately, certain opportunistic bad actors have at times manifested unacceptable behaviors,” he continued. “This past weekend, our Center City and Northern Liberties locations in Philadelphia were broken into, making it impossible for us to safely operate. In addition to these two temporary store closures, we have limited our hours at certain locations in Pennsylvania and Illinois.”
In Boston, Mayflower Medicinals and Patriot Care were burglarized. Pure Oasis, the first recreational dispensary in the city and Massachusetts’ first cannabis business owned by entrepreneurs participating in the state’s social equity program, was also attacked by looters. Co-owner Kobie Evans said the shop in the Dorchester neighborhood is far from downtown, where the city’s looting was concentrated. He believes that the dispensary was not the victim of random violence and instead was specifically targeted by thieves.
“They were deliberate. They purposefully came just to our shop,” Evans said. “They were able to get into a secure back room. They knew exactly where they were going.”
Also on the East Coast, FP Wellness in New York City and Grow Healthy in West Palm Beach Florida were victimized by the civil unrest.