King County’s Cannabis Safety Taskforce closer to reality

Legislation to establish King County’s Cannabis Safety Taskforce passed Tuesday out of Seattle City Council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services (LJHHS) Committee.

The creation of the taskforce is in response to the recent slate of marijuana store robberies across the county.

“Elected leaders need to take swift action now to protect our communities and businesses by preventing the targeting of the cannabis industry by criminals. I could not be more pleased that my colleagues passed this important legislation today,” councilmember Reagan Dunn said. “With this, we are one step closer to reducing the lawlessness and violence targeted toward these establishments and sending a clear message to the criminals responsible that these brazen robberies will not be tolerated.”

According to the Washington CannaBusiness Association, nearly 70 robberies have been recorded at marijuana retailers across the state this year.

Due to federal banking regulations, cannabis shops are an all-cash business, making them lucrative targets.

The King County Sheriff’s Office said they are increasing their presence at cannabis shops, with both uniformed and plain clothes deputies.

“We applaud today’s vote in our shared work with the King County Council to protect the safety of legal cannabis workers and the communities where regulated cannabis businesses operate,” said Vicki Christophersen, executive director of the Washington CannaBusiness Association. “Our members will continue to partner with King County officials as part of this coordinated response for addressing the recent spike in armed robberies targeting licensed cannabis businesses.”

The taskforce would identify resources necessary to aid law enforcement, deepen jurisdictional cooperation and data sharing, and coordinate emphasis law enforcement patrols.

The legislation will be heard with a possible vote May 17.

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