The Bay Area in California has been plagued with a string of cannabis delivery driver robberies in the municipalities of Bay Point, Concord, Antioch and Hayward. On October 21, three men, aged 20, 33 and 37, were caught by police and charged with multiple counts of second degree robbery for stealing products from cannabis delivery drivers.
The three men’s modus operandi was simple: they would order a cannabis delivery, and instead of a customer, the driver would be confronted at gunpoint. The robbers allegedly stole about 50 pounds of cannabis product, and stole between $5,000 and $10,000 in a series of robberies.
“One of the suspects was identified after a victim recognized him as a former San Jose cannabis dispensary employee who’d been fired for allegedly stealing $14,000 worth of products,” The Mercury News reported.
Authorities found an AR-15 style gun with the serial number missing, according to the Contra Costa Sheriff’s office. All three defendants are currently being held in the county jail, with bails set from $200,000-$500,000, prosecutors said.
It’s not the only string of cannabis robberies in California. Up north, in Laytonville, thieves are using “drones to scope gardens, and stealthily coming in on foot to take what they can carry,” a local resident told Redheaded Blackbelt.
The sole reason dispensary teams have become a dangerous occupation is that operations are forced to deal in cash-only transactions. Federal restrictions, under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 280E, prevents cannabis businesses from using banking services, unlike nearly any other industry.
Over in Michigan, one dispensary fought back during an alleged robbery attempt, and two of three gunmen were shot at Puff-N-Pass located in Detroit. In that case, the provisioning center owner was assisted by local residents, who helped subdue the assailants.
These strings of robberies will continue, so long as cannabis delivery and brick-and-mortar businesses are forced to deal with large bundles of cash.