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Break-ins, fraud on the rise at marijuana businesses

United States Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain]

Some West Michigan marijuana dispensaries have reported more crimes in the past 90 days.

On May 24, the Cannabis Regulatory Agency advised that legal marijuana business have reported more break-ins and fraud attempts. The advisory said people will try to steal from businesses by saying they work for the agency under the guise of an inspection, among other methods of fraud.

When asked for a start date and percentage increase of the reported crimes, the CRA declined to comment.

President of Securatech Rudy Patros said businesses across the state—not just cannabis—have already seen five to ten times more break-ins than all of last year. He said these “smash and grabs” are hard for a business to recover from.

“They’re causing $10,000 to $20,000 in damage to steal $500 in product,” Patros said.

The Association for Cannabis Security and Safety is a group of Michigan dispensaries that worked together to report the recent uptick of crimes.

Chad Delauter is the Director of Loss Prevention and Safety for Lume Cannabis—one of the businesses in the association. He said dispensaries are sometimes hesitant to report crimes because of stigma.

“If I report that we are dealing with crime within our industry, then it gives the folks that are the quote-on-quote naysayers of our product and our business more ammo, more fuel to say, ‘we don’t want this in our community. It enhances crime. It escalates criminal behavior, et cetera et cetera,’” Delauter said.

Delauter said most of the reports came from places in West and Southwest Michigan, including Kalamazoo, Jackson, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids and the Benton Harbor area.

Patrick Bouman is originally from Whitehall, Michigan. He is a senior at Central Michigan University, where he studies Journalism. He will be interning for WCMU and the Traverse City Record Eagle this summer.