Armed Robbers Steal a Large Amount of Marijuana in Norfolk Heist
One of legalization’s purposes was to prevent crime. But as the policy change slowly inches its way to ending black market sales, a new legal thorn is now in our side.
In October, we reported on a successful robbery on a legal grow op in Durham, Ontario, where the suspects made off with a significant load of dried marijuana.
There was also the rather inspiring and mildly entertaining story of a failed September robbery on a cannabis store, where one clerk thwarted four individuals, fending them off with a bong and unintentionally ending up in a viral video.
Now, CBC News reports of a second successful robbery, this time on a legal operation in Norfolk County of Townsend, Ontario.
Aside from being another unfortunate event, incidents like these could also change the way illegal cannabis is sold.
Robbery at Gunpoint
Reports are rather vague as to the size of the operation, but authorities describe it as a “farm” legally licensed to grow by Health Canada.
CBC News further explains:
“Several suspects managed to get into the farm where they removed a “large quantity” of cannabis before fleeing in a red Ford pickup with a cap on the back, along with a U-Haul Truck, according to an O.P.P. press release. One person was assaulted during the robbery and suffered minor injuries, say police.”
Whoever the robbers were, they came prepared. Aside from being armed, they drove to the location with a red Ford pickup truck and U-Haul van.
The police investigation is underway, but authorities encourage anyone with knowledge to contact Crime Stoppers.
Currently, the O.P.P. has no suspects, but they fortunately might have a lead. Constable Ed Sanchuk says:
“We’re investigating an incident right now where somebody in the community knows something. They’ve seen something. We just need them to have the courage to pick up the phone.”
Const. Sanchuk did not comment further on this lead.
Changing the Landscape
Prior to legalization, the supply chain of illegal marijuana was fairly straightforward. Cannabis of various qualities made it through a long pipeline of illegal avenues, ultimately reaching dealers.
Of course, this required things like local underground grow ops or even long journeys for illegal product from other parts of the country – perhaps even further.
Quality with street marijuana has always been hit-and-miss, with no guarantee of a good or clean product. But with large-scale grow operations popping up to meet the demand of legal cannabis, these establishments become prime targets for dealers or thieves looking to make an extra buck.
A serious issue (aside from the theft) is that now, the black market can provide a supply of high-quality cannabis at a lower price. If lucky, some thieves might even make it away with a proprietary strain.
Another issue is that stolen marijuana is virtually impossible to trace once it hits the streets. Other stolen goods require care and discretion to sell, making marijuana a much nicer target.
If illegally-sold marijuana sourced from robberies becomes popular, law enforcement could see these incidents become more common.
WeedAdvisor’s Concern for Industry Safety
Just as we wrote back in October, security for the marijuana industry appears to be lacking. We therefore have to ask ourselves how many similar incidents have to occur before the government and LPs decide to invest in stronger safety precautions.
Meanwhile, we hope to work with retailers and licensed producers to provide a variety of business solutions intended to improve efficiency, reduce overhead and free up resources for improving security.
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