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Colorado marijuana dispensaries proving to be prime robbery targets

Some property crimes seem too tempting to resist.
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    February 14, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Colorado marijuana dispensaries proving to be prime robbery targets

Ever since Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana, a complex set of legal questions have surrounded the status of pot in the Centennial State. Since marijuana technically remains a controlled substance under federal law, there are many areas of conflict between state and federal law. For example, marijuana dispensaries are not able to take advantage of certain tax breaks offered to more traditional small businesses. One of the areas of conflict has created a unique situation in Colorado that makes marijuana dispensaries particularly vulnerable to burglary and armed robbery.

Marijuana shops lack access to banking services, thus have lots of cash on hand

Most banks, along with other types of financial institutions like credit unions, are federally insured. This means that the federal government guarantees deposits up to a certain amount. But, while being federally insured can provide peace of mind to a bank's customers, it also comes with some strings attached.

Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, banks are prohibited from handling funds that they know are related to the marijuana trade. Most federally insured banks will have nothing to do with marijuana dispensaries or their money. Functionally, this means that many dispensaries have a lot of cash sitting around with no safe place to go with it.

Disguised as a deliveryman, one suspect grabbed what he could and then sprayed down a marijuana shop with bear mace to cover his escape. In another incident, a gunman allegedly held a shopkeeper at gunpoint while his accomplice kicked in a back door to ransack a marijuana dispensary. One burglary saw a marijuana shop's wall fall to an ax before the safe was raided with the help of a circular saw. All three of these incidents occurred in Colorado within the past six months.

Small-scale residential marijuana grows have been legal in Colorado since 2000, but full legalization under state law has brought a new wave of marijuana-related property crime. There were at least seven break-ins at marijuana dispensaries in the first week and a half of legalization. According to a report from the trade publication Marijuana Business Daily that was prepared for NBC News, on average, a Colorado marijuana company can expect a burglary or robbery about once every two years.

If you are facing burglary or robbery charges, contact a Colorado defense attorney immediately

The Obama administration has promised new regulations that will allow marijuana operations to take advantage of traditional banking services, but in the meantime, quick access to a great deal of cash and high-quality pot may prove too great of a temptation for many.

If you have been accused of a property crime like burglary or robbery, you are facing some serious charges, whether the incident is alleged to have taken place at a marijuana dispensary or elsewhere. Prosecutors will be doing their best to secure a conviction, so you need a defense that is equally fervent. Talk to an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney today if you have been accused of burglary or robbery. Your attorney may be able to challenge the evidence against you, and will give you the best shot at avoiding serious prison time.

Article provided by Christian A. Schwaner, P.C.
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