Seattle Pot Shop owners increase safety and decrease diversity

More than 50 thefts have taken place at cannabis businesses so far this year in Seattle. A firearm was used in a number of incidents. The owners now employ armed security guards. Criminals know there is money in cannabis businesses.

Marijuana dispensaries are required to carry a large amount of cash at all times because bank cards cannot be used to make purchases. Some feel that diversity is still a problem in addition to crime.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Authority has decided to be proactive. The agency said it will host an online roundtable to discuss crime directed at cannabis retailers. Lawmakers now feel pottery shops could afford armed security if city or state tax credits were in place.

Some would like the board to re-examine the diversity as well as the criminality in this industry. About 4% of the state’s population is black. But black people hold majority ownership in just 1% of Washington companies that grow and process marijuana, according to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. About 3% of cannabis retail stores are majority black-owned.

Former basketball star Shawn Kemp opened a store that was initially billed as Seattle’s first black-owned cannabis dispensary, headlines followed. Kemp owns only 5% of the store that bears his name. This company is majority white owned. The communications company that originally promoted the store as Seattle’s first black-owned cannabis dispensary later said that was a mistake.

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