Texas teens rob Colorado marijuana dispensary
Two Texas teenagers, both 17-years-old, are being held in custody after they were arrested for robbing a marijuana dispensary in Colorado.
Around 11:45 a.m. Monday the two Corsicana teens entered the Animas Herbal-Wellness Center in Durango and immediately began pepper-spraying the employees. They then grabbed a jar of medical cannabis and fled.
Employees chased after them into the parking lot and were able to give police a description of the vehicle and a partial license plate. State law requires all dispensaries to have video surveillance, which recorded the robbery.
Soon afterwards, the Durango police spotted the vehicle and attempted to make contact with the teens in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn on U.S. Highway 160. After a short pursuit on foot, police arrested both of them and recovered the jar of medical marijuana along with the clothes they were wearing during the robbery.
“It was a pretty heinous kind of crime,” Lt. Ray Shupe told the Durango Herald. “Fortunately, all the employees were treated and released at the scene.”
Because marijuana is still on the federal controlled-substance list, the two young men are charged with aggravated robbery of a controlled substance – a Class 2 felony. Class 2 felonies are punishable by eight to 24 years in prison, and a fine ranging from $5,000 to $1 million.
Shupe didn’t know if the suspects would be charged as adults, a possibility because of the nature of the crime and because they are nearing their 18th birthdays.
While Shupe didn’t know the statistics of crimes related to medical marijuana statewide, a University of Colorado at Denver study released in February found a medical marijuana dispensary doesn’t have any more crime impact on a neighborhood than a drugstore or coffee shop.
A study in Sacramento, California, noted any crimes occurring in a medical marijuana business tended to receive more media attention than similar robberies of other types of businesses. The Los Angeles Police Department has found banks are four times more likely to be robbed than medical marijuana dispensaries.