State treasurer urging Congress to pass ‘Safe Banking Act’

Pot store robberies are a deadly reminder of the risks of selling cannabis, even here in the first state to legalize marijuana.

The issue sent the State Treasurer to the other Washington this week, lobbying Congress to finally pass the “SAFE Banking Act.”

This all comes down to money. Because of the federal banking laws regarding what the feds still consider an illegal drug, this a cash ONLY business.

Crooks know that.

Last week, Dockside Cannabis in SODO was one of at least three pot shops in the Puget Sound region robbed in a single day.

It is a risk that everyone in the legal business of selling cannabis in this state faces, violent thieves mostly looking for the one thing they can be sure is there, cash.

“Look, this is a $1.4 billion industry in the state of Washington,” said State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti.

He says the crooks are doing what they always have.

“Obviously, robbers go where the cash is,” he said.

And how. This running tally of robberies kept by the owner of Uncle Ike’s shows just how many pot shops in the Puget Sound region have been hit in the first three months of 2022 alone.

“Since the start of the year, Washington State has seen one robbery a day,” said Pellicciotti.

This week, Pellicciotti traveled to the Nation’s Capital to lobby U. S. Senators to follow the House’s lead and pass a ‘SAFE banking’ law to allow for pot shops to legally deposit their money.

“My view is come hell or high water, this needs to pass this year,” said Pellicciotti. “If we can get cash out of the system where we can move to a banking system, we can prevent these robberies from happening.”

It won’t come in time for those who work at Euphorium Cannabis in Covington.

“It’s hard,” said Lindsey Evans, Euphorium co-owner. “It’s very mentally taxing on a lot of people.”

A violent takeover there Thursday night ended in an employee shooting and killing the would-be robber. The toll of it all visible in the light of the next day.

“We run businesses just like any other business owners,” said Ryan Evans, Euphorium co-owner. “We can’t just close up shop and go home and go get new jobs. We have to continue to do business. And so, it is a necessity to protect our employees the best we can.”

State Treasurer Pellicciotti insists Congress holds the key to making the job of everyone in the cannabis business safer.

We’ll stay on this story and let you know if Congress acts.