This month, WW reported on a wave of robberies, burglaries and lootings of Portland dispensaries ("Killer Weed," March 3, 2021). Since the beginning of the pandemic, local weed shops have been the target of such crimes at a rate of about two per week. Then, in December, budtender Michael Arthur was shot and killed in an armed robbery of his workplace. Shop owners say they're a tempting target because federal prohibition means they can't get bank accounts and deal mostly in cash. Here's what our readers had to say:

Joe Kelly, via Facebook: "Until it's legalized at the federal level, cannabis will remain the wild west."

Tammy Hiatt Macomber, via Facebook: "If the feds would make this 'legal' in their eye, then these hardworking companies could at least open a bank account, making keeping cash on the premises unnecessary."

Oldguythoughts, via "Ability to use the banking system would not solve the problem of stealing the weed, which seems to be the major loss."

Margot Ashleigh, via Facebook: "Personally, I'm done working in the cannabis industry until we get unions, fair pay, benefits, and real safety. I'm not a teen working for extra bucks. I'm an adult trying to make ends meet. Don't need the extra threat of murder/robbery on top of contracting COVID added to my stress levels. Get it together, y'all."

@twiztedone25 via Twitter: "Even companies that are allowed to do 'normal' transactions still get robbed. Maybe if marijuana companies put as much money into security as they do lobbying, it would be harder."

Tim Burke, via Facebook: "Yet another glaring failure of the Controlled Substances Act, which needs to be repealed, and the utter failure of the broken and ineffectual Portland Police Bureau, which is essentially a do-nothing organization that costs us a fortune. They show up 20 minutes after the ambulance? PPB needs to be completely dismantled."

Mr Logic, via "'An ambulance showed up first; the police about 20 minutes later.' That is the pathetic response time. And we're defunding the police. Brilliant."

WonderWoman503 via "Seems the police need lessons in time management. They have plenty of resources, they need to use them properly."

You Can Always Go Downtown

I have been walking downtown several times a week during this entire tumultuous year ["Knocked Down Town," WW, Feb. 17, 2021] and as a 75-year-old woman I have never felt unsafe. I created a photo book of the BLM murals and watched them develop. I weep for my beloved city and I have grown very tired of all the damaging negative press which is just as impactful as breaking windows or spraying graffiti.

We are at a crossroads, and people need to be downtown shopping and getting takeout to support the brave small business owners who have stayed on. Our city is recovering. I see more and more people downtown shopping and eating.

Things are improving. New businesses are starting up and moving into empty storefronts. I organized my neighbors to shop and eat downtown. I love my city and will not let a few punk kids breaking windows or snatching a purse hurt my beloved Portland. Come to downtown Portland and be part of the revival!

Linda McKim-Bell
Northwest Portland

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