Armed Robbers Make Off With $437,000 From Marijuana Courier: Cannabis Banking Reform Would Stem Cannabis Dispensary Attacks Where Workers Are Sitting Ducks

Zinger Key Points
  • Cannabis banking reform would give weed companies access to banks so they don't have to operate with cash only, which is clearly dangerous.
  • It's a win-win: banks want in on the marijuana billions and weed workers don't want to get robbed.

Two armed men, along with their getaway driver, were arrested this week for robbing a courier who was transporting over $436,000 from multiple cannabis dispensaries in Massachusetts.  

The perpetrators intercepted the courier, sprayed him in the eyes with pepper spray and then made off with the cash, reported Boston25 News.

Great Work Lads But Here’s An Idea: Cannabis Banking Reform   

While the case underscores the collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies — federal and local agents were involved — to combat organized crime, it also sheds light on the risks inherent in the banking restrictions facing the cannabis industry.

That is to say… there is no proper banking access for any and all cash gathered at or by a marijuana company that is involved in touching the actual cannabis plant.

Due to this cash-only situation at retail weed shops, workers are sitting ducks for robberies, theft or worse. Attacks have increased across the country in recent years.

Burglaries at shops in Washington state have now become commonplace, especially ones where a stolen vehicle is used to ram a building to get inside. According to KIRO7 local news, 12 violent break-ins resulted in property damage and theft so far in 2024.

In 2020 and 2021 there were more than 80 reported armed robberies in Washington, with some ending in death, according to the Washington CannaBusiness Association.    

What's To Be Done?

The Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act would give cannabis companies normalized access to banking and financial services and allow dispensaries to accept credit cards rather than cash only. The SAFER Banking Act has passed in the U.S. House seven times. The Senate approved it in September 2023 though it has yet to be taken up on the full Senate floor nor has it made it to the upper chamber of the House.

As of this past April, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sought to include SAFER in must-pass legislation connected to the FAA reauthorization. That didn't happen.

Win-Win: Banks Want In On The Marijuana Billions And People Don’t Want To Get Robbed

It’s not that the banks don’t want to accommodate the billions of dollars weed generates annually or that they don’t like the nearly a half-million people the industry employs.

So long as the federal government considers marijuana to be a Schedule I drug, access to banking remains out of reach. Hence the DEA's stated intention to reschedule cannabis cannot come a moment too soon.

Photo courtesy of US Attorney General’s office

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsTop Storiescannabis banking reformChuck SchumerDEASAFER Banking ActStories That Matter
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