Council discusses recent marijuana store robberies

During last weeks council workshop, Councilman Tom Watson presented to the council two cases of home robberies associated with marijuana retail stores in October and November.

The Bonney Lake City Council continues to discuss the pros and cons of allowing marijuana retail stores to set up shop in the city while the decision on zoning marijuana businesses nears the planned deadline.

The council plans to discuss the marijuana businesses ordinance on Dec. 2, and make a decision by Dec. 9.

During last weeks council workshop, Councilman Tom Watson presented to the council two cases of home robberies associated with marijuana retail stores in October and November.

“These occurrences are a deterrent,” said Watson. “To knowingly bring a business into our city that can have these repercussions is obviously unwise.”

On Oct. 30, two men robbed a 72-year-old woman who was holding on to cash from her son’s and grandson’s marijuana retail store.

On Nov. 18, another two men followed a dispensary owner home in Midland and robbed him. A friend of the owner chanced upon the robbers leaving the home in their car and drove after them. The friend was injured in a shootout down the street.

In both cases, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesperson Ed Troyer said that these robberies were not random, and that suspects knew there would be cash at these locations.

It is not currently known if the two robberies were connected.

Currently, most banks don’t take money from marijuana businesses. One bank that does work with marijuana businesses is O Bee Credit Union, which operates out of Thurston County.

O Bee Credit Union Senior Vice President Jennifer Roberts said the credit union’s pilot program for marijuana businesses in and around Thurston County arose out of safety concerns for marijuana business. The amount of cash businesses owners may have on-hand, Roberts said, makes them a target for thefts.

Besides the potential for crime, Watson said there are health risks for marijuana users as well, and cited an increase in marijuana-related calls to the Washington Poison Center.

According to the poison center, King County had the highest marijuana exposures in 2014, nearing 70 calls. Pierce County had the second most marijuana exposures, with almost 25 calls.

The poison center recorded 33 marijuana exposures last October, the highest amount in two years.

Additionally, 53 percent of all pediatric marijuana exposures reported in 2014 through October are for teens between the ages of 13 and 19.

Children between the ages of 1 and 3 make up a further 25 percent of all reported pediatric marijuana exposures for the same time period.

“Our call volume has increased over 120 percent regarding children exposed to marijuana and marijuana edibles, compared to 2013,” said Dr. Alexander Garrard, the clinical managing director of the Washington Poison Center. “This may be due to marijuana edibles being more available, and the lack of child-resistant packaging.”

According to the Poison Center, many marijuana-infused foods packages can resemble other well-known brands, which can cause confusion for children. Some examples of parody products include Keef Kat, 3 Rastateers, and Buddahfinger.

Watson said that the council is keeping Bonney Lake resident safety in mind while making this decision.

“My biggest problem with allowing zoning for marijuana retail stores is that there are more negative consequences than positive,” said Watson. “The cons outweigh the pros. It’s that simple.”

 

More in News

$500K boost for Fennel Creek Trail project, keeps out of way of objecting neighborhood

Senator Phil Fortunato helped the city find money to cover the cost of going around the neighborhood instead of through it.

Leadership changes at nonprofits

René Popke of the downtown Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation will be taking over Scott Gray’s job as head of the Expo Center in the near future.

Holy Family Cemetery gets facelift

New leadership helped complete cemetery cleaning project and add new features.

Rainier State School supervisor guilty of attempted rape | Pierce County Prosecutor

Yesterday a Pierce County Superior Court jury found Terry Wayne Shepard, 60,… Continue reading

Fourth person charged in Bonney Lake sex trafficking case

Nicholas David Biancalana, 29, is being charged with rape of a child in the third degree.

Enumclaw couple reach marriage milestone of 75 years

Fred and Jean Gramann have been married since 1943

Seattle and King County officials want a safe injection van

The mobile project—an alternative to permanent sites—still doesn’t have a defined timeline.

Liquor and Cannabis Board releases cannabis survey | RAND Corportation

Help the department better understand cannabis use in the state by taking an anonymous survey.

Programs provide free summer meals to kids in need

Know where and when kids, and sometimes their families, can get free or reduced-fare meals over the summer break.

Most Read