Protecting cannabis merchants from looters doesn’t appear to be high on the to-do list of San Francisco-area police, who have been accused of letting the crime wave sweep across legal marijuana shops to the tune of $5 million.
Police are “not responding to reports of break-ins — arriving hours later only to ask owners to file a police report, if they respond at all — or, in at least one recorded instance, appearing to stand by and watch as unarmed thieves robbed a legal marijuana store blind,” according to Forbes.
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The sale and use of marijuana are legal in California. But while these businesses contribute $14 million a year in taxes to the city of Oakland, more than 25 burglaries have been reported in recent weeks. The haul is easy to sell on the open market.
Over in San Francisco, a Nov. 16 surveillance video shows police apparently standing by while three thieves filled up a bag with items and then drove off unimpeded.
“This is a very blatant ‘We ain’t doing anything’” situation, an unnamed cannabis merchant told the outlet.
Meanwhile, looting at stores including CVS, Target, Louis Vuitton, and Nordstrom has attracted international attention and prompted press conferences by elected officials. None of that sympathy appears directed toward marijuana merchants, critics say.
On Nov. 22, Gov. Gavin Newsom promised that looters would be prosecuted.
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“I have no sympathy, no empathy whatsoever for people smashing and grabbing, stealing people’s items, creating havoc, and terror on our streets,” Newsom said. “None. Period. Full stop. We want real accountability, we want people prosecuted, and we want people to feel safe this holiday season.”