Jun 7, 2013 8:05 PM by Andy Koen

Burglaries account for majority of crimes at marijuana businesses

COLORADO SPRINGS - Forty mature marijuana plants were stolen from a Colorado Springs dispensary during am early morning burglary. The police were called to the Green Earth Wellness Center in the 500 block of 30th Street at around 4:00 a.m. Friday after the store's alarm was tripped.

The owners declined an on camera interview request, but said they are a small mom-and-pop business and that the crime has seriously jeopardized them financially. The plants were nearly ready for harvesting and accounted for almost their entire inventory for the next two months. It's the fourth time the business has been broken into or robbed since they opened in 2009.

Burglaries are the most frequent crime to strike marijuana businesses in Colorado Springs. Data from the Colorado Springs Police Department show as of May 30, there have been 108 crimes reported at marijuana establishments since the city first licensed them in 2009. The vast majority, 80 incidents, were burglaries. Another 16 were attempted burglaries. Armed robberies only happened six times between 2010 and 2012.

On Wednesday, News 5 reported that marijuana businesses are still forced to operate on cash only systems because federal law block banks from letting the business owners open accounts. There is concern that model will create a public safety risk when retail marijuana sales begin to take place. The CSPD data seem to suggest the cash problem is less of a concern.

Nevertheless, Congressman Ed Perlmutter plans to introduce legislation to the House Financial Services Committee that would create an exemption for banks in Colorado and other states where marijuana is legal to avoid prosecution under federal money laundering laws.

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