Police are investigating a string of armed robberies of metro-area dispensaries in December as the number of break-ins at Denver marijuana businesses hit a three-year high in 2019.
Dispensaries in the city reported five robberies and 122 burglaries last year, according to the Denver Police Department. Both offenses increased slightly from 2018, when Denver marijuana businesses reported one robbery and 120 burglaries.
Overall, crimes related to the marijuana industry accounted for 0.30% of Denver’s total offenses reported in 2018, the latest year data was available, according to the police department.
Burglary of controlled substances, a class 2 felony, is the most common type of crime in the marijuana industry, said Denver police Cmdr. James Henning, of the department’s investigative division, adding that criminals primarily target dispensaries and cannabis grows.
“It’s like cash in hand,” Henning said. In Colorado, “marijuana at wholesale price is going for $1,200 per pound… but if you take that same pound of marijuana to the East Coast, it’s worth $3,000 to $3,500.”
John Goutell, general counsel for Frosted Leaf, said the dispensary’s three Denver locations have been burglarized after hours eight times since 2014. But a robbery at its Cherry Creek location on Dec. 3, in which four men held two employees at gunpoint, signals an escalation. [Read more at Denver Post]