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Why Will WA Pot Farmers Be Using Armored Vehicles for Cargo Transport?

Pot farmers, processors forced to turn to armored vehicles for protection
Pot farmers, processors forced to turn to armored vehicles for protection (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

This is getting almost tiresome, but yet another part of legalized pot the ACLU and others didn’t consider.   Whoops!

With the status of Federal banks taking pot money still in limbo,  marijuana farmers in WA state are facing a serious security issue.  While Numerica Credit Union says they will take money from pot growers, they won’t accept store profits.  Most of the rest of banks won’t touch the stuff with a ten foot ledger, leading to a big problem.

Pot growers, processors and owners of state pot stores are going to have to work on a cash-only basis.   When it comes to hauling around tens of thousands of dollars, you’re making yourself a potentially easy target for criminals.

But farmers, processors and store owners can’t do anything to protect themselves.  The statutes of I-502 do not allow them to hire or sub-contract private security companies to securely transport pot, and their money, safety to their desired destinations.   Think of the armored cars that bring money to banks and credit unions, and you’ve got the picture.

So,  numerous growers and even store owners, are buying armored vehicles! . According to The Columbian newspaper, the first licensed pot grower in Clark County,  Brian Stroh, has actually purchased a “tricked out” used armored vehicle for $500:

 ”Stroh said he’d absolutely prefer to contract shipments out to a security company. But it will be a while before changes could be made to the legislation, so in the meantime he’s working on other options to make vehicles used by his company more secure. “I don’t anticipate (the drives to stores) as being like a James Bond movie,” Stroh said. “But if you were somebody transporting a couple of times a day it certainly would be worrisome. We’re small, so we’ll probably only ship a couple times a month.”  Still, when the opportunity to buy an armored vehicle presented itself, Stroh found it hard to refuse.”

A processor in Longview WA, Adam Stites, who takes in the pot from the farmers and prepares it for the stores, has also equipped himself with an armored vehicle.

In what has to be one of the understatements of the year,  ACLU Attorney Alison Holcomb, who helped write I-502 said:

“There has definitely been talk of coming up with a license for third-party secure transportation, I think it’s legitimate to say there’s a valid need.”

If the writers of I-502 had really done their homework, they would have learned from the experiences of medical marijuana dispensary owners.  Since the legalization of medical pot years ago,   dispensaries have had to play “James Bond”  in transporting their cash. They usually vary their departure times,  change routes, and sometimes even have “dummy” shipments leave their stores on purpose to throw off any potential criminals who may be watching them.

Add a big fat “whoops” to the already long list of issues that were overlooked by Holcomb and other supporters-writers of I-502.

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