Oakland Cannabis Crime Spree Sparks Protest

Supernova Women led by veteran Amber Senter has decided it has had enough. The group is organizing a press conference to address a rash of robberies against cannabis businesses in Oakland CA. During the week of November 15th over 15 licensed cannabis businesses in Oakland were broken into, vandalized, and robbed. This is believed to be a coordinated effort involving many individuals and over 100 cars. Supernova said that all cannabis business license types were affected: cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and retail (delivery and storefronts). Cumulatively, these small and mostly Equity-licensed businesses are now faced with over $5 million worth of losses.

J. Henry Halston Jr., Co-Founder of the cannabis brand, James Henry says, “This is just so heartbreaking and stomach-turning. We employ 14 people and we have been trying to grow our business since we first started in 2017. The damage and stolen goods represent significant losses that we have to find a way to cover. This includes local and state taxes on the inventory that has been stolen. This one might be too much for us to overcome.”

The press conference will be held at 12 pm on Monday, November 29, 2021, in front of Oakland City Hall at 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. Several leaders in the cannabis industry will address the incidents, and how such events impact licensed cannabis businesses aiming for sustainability in the highly complex legal market. Speakers include Kristi Palmer, Co-Founder and COO of
Kiva Confections, Raeven Duckett, CEO and Founder of Text Johnnie, and Chaney Turner, Chair of the Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

Amber E. Senter, Co-Founder and Chairman of Supernova Women adds, “The cannabis industry needs tax relief. Cannabis Equity businesses in particular, need more money and resources. Small businesses and small farmers need help. Piling on and increasing taxes and now the threat of robberies and violence is proving to be unbearable for most cannabis operators. When we are faced with targeted attacks, the effects are magnified. Our communities do not have the runway for robberies and tragedies of this kind. We need more protection, we need more money for security so that we can protect ourselves.”

The cannabis community is also upset because of a similar recent break-in at the luxury store Louis Vuitton in San Francisco’s tony Union Square, which captured a great deal of media attention. Some arrests have been made according to the district attorney’s office. The city has faced a rash of flash-mob-style robberies in various stores. Large groups of shoplifters either invade a store near closing time and overwhelm the employees or break in after-hours with cars outside waiting to transport the stolen goods.

This gathering of longtime cannabis advocates is mobilizing to shed light on the issue of security, cannabis tax amnesty, and small business policy. In a year where the pandemic and global logistics has disrupted business growth and sustainability, additional robberies mark another significant barrier.

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