San Francisco, Oakland advise marijuana firms about possible attacks

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San Francisco and Oakland cannabis companies were warned this week that expected July Fourth weekend protests could lead to more burglaries, akin to how some criminals targeted marijuana businesses during Black Lives Matter marches in May.

In a warning bulletin, the San Francisco Office of Cannabis wrote that “several protests” scheduled for the holiday weekend could create a “strain on police resources,” and the agency advised companies to “take necessary precautions.”

And in Oakland, city staff emailed all licensed marijuana businesses to “make sure everyone is aware that there could be an increased risk this weekend,” Oakland Police Capt. Randell Wingate said.

“I have heard … that there’s talk of hitting some of the (cannabis business) locations again” by organized criminals, Wingate said.

He added that there hasn’t been specific intelligence that more robberies will occur but that there’s an “increased risk this weekend” that the city wanted to spread awareness throughout its legal cannabis industry.

The San Francisco bulletin noted that marijuana businesses are allowed to move inventory to different locations “to prevent theft during a disaster” and also included multiple police contacts, phone numbers and names of officers in case of emergency.

It also advised that businesses:

  • Board up or reinforce points of entry and doors to prevent break-ins.
  • Confer with security providers to enhance deterrence measures.
  • Make sure video surveillance is working properly.
  • Avoid confrontations with intruders and call 911 if necessary.

A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily that, “at this time, we cannot confirm credible threats that speak to the targeting of cannabis dispensaries.

“We are proactively attaining and updating the emergency contact information for all businesses with storefronts that may be damaged and victimized during looting or violent protests.”

Oakland’s Wingate said the email warning to its cannabis companies was very general and noted that he and other city staff are working to improve lines of communication between the industry and law enforcement.

For the weekend, the Oakland Police Department “has increased our staffing and resources throughout the city to ensure safety, deter crime and take enforcement actions,” Oakland Police Public Information Officer Johnna Watson wrote in an email to MJBizDaily.

“There are multiple events planned in the city over the holiday weekend,” Watson wrote, ‘and we will be patrolling all areas, residential and commercial, as our efforts continue to ensure a safe weekend for all.”