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String of Cannabis Shop Robberies Continues Into the New Year

One recent cannabis shop robbery turned deadly, resulting in the fatal shooting of a 44-year-old employee.

On Jan. 4, the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office filed charges against five suspects accused of robbing a cannabis shop in the Hollywood District. According to the probable cause affidavit, the group—all of whom are under the age of 23—pulled a handgun on the employee Jan. 1 and filled black garbage bags with cannabis products.

The incident is the latest in a string of cannabis dispensary robberies and burglaries that date back to May 2020, as WW previously reported. Between May and August of 2020, 60 cannabis shops reported lost product, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

One of the recent robberies turned deadly: On Dec. 14, Portland police say, 44-year-old Michael Arthur, an employee at Cured Green dispensary in North Portland, was killed during an armed robbery.

The Portland Police Bureau could not provide an updated tally of cannabis robberies, but a spokesman says the bureau is aware of the issue.

"These robberies are on the Police Bureau radar," says Lt. Greg Pashley. "These shops are targeted, at least in part, due to all the drugs and money that are on hand with relatively low security. Robberies are difficult to prevent, since among other factors the suspects have the ability to choose the time and place with no notice."