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Amid robbery rise, Washington state offering voluntary security checks for pot shops

Washington pot shops have access to a complimentary physical security and crime prevention assessment from Setracon courtesy of the LCB.

SEATTLE — As pot shop robberies surge across Washington, the State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) is offering cannabis retailers a free security assessment through a third-party firm.

LCB has partnered with Tacoma-based Setracon to give the state's 180 pot shops the opportunity to have thorough physical security and crime prevention assessment.

Upwards of 50 pot shop robberies were reported through just the first three months of the year by LCB. One of those incidents, at World of Weed in Tacoma, left a 29-year-old employee, Jordan Brown, dead.

Federal law forces pot shops to operate almost entirely with cash only, making them more susceptible to robberies. 

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On the annual 4/20 marijuana holiday last month, Sen. Patty Murray held a press conference at a Seattle-area pot shop and emphasized she will push for marijuana banking reform. 

The SAFE Banking Act bill would allow depository institutions to work with licensed cannabis retailers free of prosecution. The measure has passed the House of Representatives six times, but repeatedly has failed in the Senate.

LCB and Setracon say among the services provided to local pot shops will be:

  1. Working with retailers to assess potential security risks;
  2. Review criminal threats facing the retailer;
  3. Evaluate and document present mitigations and suggest solutions for improvement;
  4. Providing retailers with a report of findings.

The LCB also recently announced it has partnered with the Washington State Crime Prevention Association (WSCPA) to offer security and safety training to cannabis licensees and their employees. 

WSCPA will be holding a number of trainings between May and August, focused on "cannabis retail and processor safety best practices and regionally focused to address any unique local circumstances."

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