Businesses across the nation are suffering at the hands of protesters attempting to send a message about the brutal killing of George Floyd. Many protests have been peaceful, but there are many that lead to looting and damaging buildings, and cannabis dispensaries are included. Despite being considered an essential business throughout the pandemic, many cannabis retail stores found themselves in the crosshairs of these looters.
The protestors describe these acts of violence and damage to their cities as years of pent up rage and unheard voices, stemming from what they believe is a racially biased system against black Americans. The civil unrest has incited the President to release the National Guard across various states. There have been many deaths, arrests, and injuries during this tense time in history.
According to social media videos, MedMen in Los Angeles had two locations broken into and robbed. The man filming the video can be heard saying, “They are cleaning MedMen out” as protestors o just plain looters leave the store with red shopping bags, filled with the things they stole.
MedMen did not want to comment on the situation. However one employee of MedMen posted on LinkedIn, “It is not hard for me to empathize with, and I am sensitive to those who view MedMen as a symbol of the inequality that led to the anger expressed last night.” He further emphasized his support for those who feel outraged by the killing of George Floyd, and he himself feels “angry that a group of police officers sat idly by while one of their own murdered George Floyd by standing on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.” MedMen reported Monday that all of their stores will be closed until further notice. They have operations across six US states.
“Effective immediately, we are temporarily closing all stores and the corporate office to protect the safety of our employees. The safety of everyone in the MedMen family is the most important thing right now, and we are grateful to report that while our stores were damaged, our employees and security guards were unharmed.” The company said in an internal memo, first reported by Marijuana Moment.
Jushi Closes Temporarily
Jushi Holdings (OTC:JUSHF) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Cacioppo said in a statement:
We fully support an individual’s right to freedom of speech and the touching peaceful demonstrations that we have seen around the country. We are heartbroken by the murder of George Floyd and the pain it is causing communities across the country that we not only work in, but live and love.
Unfortunately, certain opportunistic bad actors have at times manifested unacceptable behaviors. This past weekend, our Center City and Northern Liberties locations in Philadelphia were broken into, making it impossible for us to safely operate. In addition to these two temporary store closures, we have limited our hours at certain locations in Pennsylvania and Illinois. Please check www.beyond-hello.com for the latest details. It is our hope to begin safely servicing our customers soon from the impacted store locations and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our patients and customers.
As committed members of the cannabis movement, we will also continue to fight for equality and work to overturn racially biased laws that ruin lives and unequally target disenfranchised communities and people of color.
Rappers Berner and B Real both reported robberies at their stores, too. B Real Tweeted on May 30th, “Today as a country we hit a low point. Rioting, looting and burning down business all during a pandemic isn’t going to make the change needed. It will only set us back. Protest peacefully and remove the instigators that aren’t there in the name of George Floyd.”
The Chicago Tribune reported that all of their dispensaries would be closed indefinitely either to prevent looting or to clean up from the damage that has already been done. Kris Krane, president and co-founder of 4Front Ventures, who owns the robbed dispensary Mission South Shore, told The Chicago Tribune, “The store’s been pretty much ransacked. Nothing was going to hold that many people back.” Krane watched 30 to 40 people break into the dispensary on security cameras.
Most of the cannabis industry seems optimistic that they will rebuild from this, and a lot of them say they understand why this happened. “We can replace windows, we can grow more pot, we can have empathy.” said the MedMen employee.