Lynnwood pot shop owner: Thieves cause over $100K in damages

Feb 16, 2023, 6:11 PM | Updated: Feb 17, 2023, 10:56 am
cannabis retailers...
Surveillance footage (Courtesy of The Green Lady Marijuana)
(Courtesy of The Green Lady Marijuana)

Green Lady Marijuana in Lynnwood was the victim of a burglary after thieves rammed a stolen truck into the building Sunday night — causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Surveillance video showed the thieves attempting to steal the ATM once inside.

“This is unfortunately, for us, par for the course,” said Mike Redmond, co-owner of Green Lady Marijuana, on The Jason Rantz Show. “We’ve had 12 burglaries, two drive-thru burglaries, and two armed robberies. So it’s kind of getting normal for us.”

State suggests cashless apps for cannabis stores to avoid robbery

Because cannabis is federally illegal, retailers usually cannot take credit or debit cards. This reliance on cash has made these businesses a target for armed robberies.

“How much damage was done?” Rantz asked Redmond.

“It’ll probably be six figures,” Redmond responded. “They took out the post holding up the building, they drove through the HVAC system. There’s electrical, plumbing — everything was damaged. We’ve never put in an insurance claim for all of our burglaries or drive-thrus. So it’s just kind of upsetting. This one was pretty big. They didn’t get anything. They came in and saw that the ATM was empty. We don’t hold cash overnight. But of course, they’re criminals, so they’re not that smart.”

Last year, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) published a list of cashless phone apps and transfer services that cannabis retailers can use for customer payments instead of cash. But each of these apps charges significant fees per transaction.

According to Redmond, only two insurance companies are willing to insure cannabis retailers in Washington.

“We’ve done lobby days and we’ve participated as much as we can with local municipalities and, like I said, to the police and the LCB, they’ve been helpful as much as they can,” Redmond said in regards to reaching out to elected leaders. “But it comes back to the top. I mean, we’ve done everything we can and it doesn’t seem to get changed unless there are actual consequences for these things.”

Law enforcement coalition targets spiking organized retail theft of baby formula, cannabis

Washington reached a 10-year high with armed robberies committed at cannabis retail stores in 2022, according to The Seattle Times, with more than 100 reported last year alone.

“For me, it seems a little bit like they don’t really care,” Redmond said. “We pay 10% sales tax for everything we sell. And then, if we can eke out a little bit of a profit, because we’re still considered like a degenerate illegal company, the federal government taxes us at the highest percentage, regardless of whether you make money or not, which is 37%. So there’s incentive for them not to do anything. They’re making money.”

Watch the surveillance footage here:

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Lynnwood pot shop owner: Thieves cause over $100K in damages