The recent killing of a marijuana store security guard in Colorado and the wounding of another guard in San Bernardino are the latest examples of the crime lure posed by cash-only pot dispensaries, reports the Los Angeles Times. While those armed robbery attempts and a pot store shootout in Walnut Park in Los Angeles County were unfolding last month, Democratic-sponsored legislation that could have led to more dispensaries offering plastic and electronic payments in lieu of cash was blocked by House Republicans.
“Moments such as this,” said security expert Michael Jerome of Blue Line Protection Group, referring to the recent killing of 24-year-old Colorado pot store guard Travis Mason, “remind us that the cash-based nature of the legal cannabis industry here in Colorado makes these dispensaries and cultivation facilities prime targets.”
Recreational use of marijuana is dominated by Western states: It’s legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. Altogether, 25 states and the District of Columbia allow some form of recreational or medical marijuana use. California, Nevada and six other states could make marijuana legal in a majority of U.S. states in November when they vote on legalization measures. Marijuana use remains illegal under federal law, causing most banks to steer clear of the industry. As a result, most dispensaries must deal in cash.