After a string of burglaries at cannabis businesses in the state, a Washington regulatory agency is suspending an online resource that could be a valuable tool for the culprits.
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has taken down a map from its website that identified the locations of various marijuana companies.
“We had a request by some of our stakeholders feeling that having those addresses posted on the website was an easy way for them to be found and perhaps targeted,” Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board spokeswoman Julie Graham told Marijuana Business Daily.
Graham told MBD that the agency pulled the map last week, and that the decision was to remove “non-retail maps and addresses from the website.”
Burglaries at Washington’s Bud Businesses
The rash of burglaries at those businesses was the subject of a lengthy investigative report published in August by Politico.
The story detailed how, as the cases of theft mounted, marijuana “growers came to suspect that the criminals had found another way of getting the information they needed to target vulnerable businesses offering big payoffs: The government was giving it to them.”
Washington’s marijuana laws include extensive rules and regulations that require producers in the state to “provide much more detailed information about their activities to the state each month than other businesses are obliged to provide—things like exactly how many plants they grow and harvest by batch and strain, how much inventory they hold and how much they sell, when, to whom, for how much,” Politico reported.
The state subsequently posts much of that information online, along with the locations of all weed vendors, which in turn is harvested and shared by scores of aggregators.
“If you are a crook, it’s a veritable laundry list of targets,” says Andrew Marris, a partner in the Seattle cannabis grower Fire Bros., told Politico.
Marris said his company lost $200,000 of marijuana in burglaries.
Much of those rules that require so much information from Washington marijuana businesses came from a desire to promote transparency in the newfound legal market after the state became one of the first two to legalize recreational pot back in 2012.
Now, faced with burglaries, growers and other advocates are calling on the state to institute some exemptions to those public records requirements.
Alison Holcomb, the Washington state political director at the ACLU, told Politico that lawmakers should consider revising the law.
“The legislature should give serious consideration to whether some appropriate exemptions from the Public Records Act should be implemented,” Holcomb said.