ISLETON, Calif. — It took only 10 minutes but a caught-on-camera heist at an Iselton dispensary and lounge has left local owners with a loss of nearly $250,000 and a plea for the state to do more to protect legal cannabis businesses.
Around 2:57 a.m. Thursday, owners of Isleton's Delta Boyz say a group of upwards of five burglars in three separate cars broke the small business's back door.
Once inside, security camera video shows the burglars ransacking a storage room, opening large bins and stealing the top-shelf cannabis flower inside.
"They loaded up their cars to the point where it was so full that they couldn't even close their doors," said Jacqueline Eubanks, a manager at Delta Boyz. "Unfortunately, they got away with top-shelf indoor, which is basically some of the highest valued cannabis in our industry."
Some of the flower stolen was already packaged and ready to be made into pre-rolls or sold. Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, insurance policies don't generally cover cannabis products, which is why Eubanks says the business's options at this point are slim.
"It was very close to being finished for production to be sold into the market so it kind of is a big hit to us," said Eubanks. "If a grocery store gets robbed, they have a way of recouping what they lost, we don't. We just lose it, it's just gone."
For the dispensary and lounge's owner and operator Sebastian Anthony, watching the video of the early morning burglary and seeing the aftermath in his shop Thursday was appalling.
"It feels terrible. I mean, it feels like we can't do anything. I'm a legacy guy. This isn't a black market. I can't sit down here with my homies and a bunch of guns and protect my business," said Anthony. "This is a legitimate business so I have to conduct it completely differently and from where we came from, we would be able to handle these problems. Now our hands are tied. I can't protect myself. I can't protect my family. I can't protect my employees."
Anthony says he has been in contact with other cannabis business owners across the state who have reported similar instances of well-organized heists, even some who have reported seeing similar cars.
The burglary was reported to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office which is investigating the case. Anthony is now calling on the state to take more action to protect legal cannabis businesses like his.
"The state collects very high taxes from these businesses, local municipalities collect a lot of taxes from these businesses," said Anthony. "As a business owner, we would like to see those resources reallocated away from cracking down on the black market and actually put into funds to protect these legal businesses from criminals that just want to rob us."
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