MEDFORD, Ore. — After a string of smash and grab burglaries at dispensaries, police are saying that kind of business is an easy target. It’s because they’re mostly cash businesses. Marijuana is legal in Oregon and California, but it’s still illegal on a federal level. Due to this, banks aren’t fully open to dispensaries, so they are forced to deal in mostly cash.
Big dispensaries can afford unmarked vans and armed guards to transport money but smaller operators don’t have that option. Oregon’s U.S. Senators have long lobbied the federal government to get legal growers access to the U.S. banking system. “Typically we don’t see this in the Valley but we do see it all around us. In any big city north or south of us, we see that dispensaries are targeted for robberies and burglaries,” said Lt. Mike Budreau with Medford Police Department.
This weekend police say a group of Californians took cash and an ATM from one dispensary. They later found the ATM in a west Medford field with the cash removed. Then detectives found a safe in east Medford, which was stolen from an Ashland dispensary Monday.
Lt. Budreau says these incidents are rare here but urges dispensary owners to have good video surveillance and to keep money off sight.