Legal cannabis dispensaries across the country have been targeted by violent looters, who have used protests against police brutality to their advantage. Big-name West Coast retailers, like MedMen and Cookies, had storefronts smashed and merchandise stolen. Pure Oasis in Boston, the only black-run marijuana store in Massachusetts, lost more than $100,000 in stolen cannabis products.
— ABRACADABS (@AbraCaDabsFest) May 31, 2020
Pure Oasis co-owner Kobie Evans described the robbery as a “targeted attack,” in comments to The Boston Globe, and said looters were using protests as cover. Ironically, Evans noted, Pure Oasis is a black-owned company — comedian Kevin Hart is also a co-owner — and employs people with prior drug convictions. The marijuana store was created as a solution model to address discriminatory police policies in drug enforcement, which disproportionately targeted communities of color.
“Kevin [Hart] and I stand in solidarity with all the people protesting the injustice in Minneapolis and elsewhere,” Evans told the Globe. “In no way do we draw any connection between what happened to us and people protesting for a good cause. This is a somewhat isolated incident where a few people exploited the situation for personal gain, because someone wanted a free pair of Jordans and some weed to go with it.”
Protests have gathered in numerous American cities in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hand of Minneapolis police. But public officials like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been careful to differentiate looters as a separate group from protesters. Social media users have documented which cannabis stores have been targeted by looters, with many burglaries occurring in major cities.
Despite the stolen goods, numerous dispensary owners have announced they stand behind the protests.
The rapper Berner, who owns the well-known Cookies cannabis brand, posted on Instagram that he “understand[s] what’s going on in the world right now.”
“It’s extremely unfortunate what happened to our store tonight on Melrose. But as a human living in the world we’re living in today, I can’t expect anything less until justice is served,” Berner said in a video posted to Instagram. “We can rebuild our store but you can’t bring someone back to life.”
“How can I worry about a store when there’s so much more going on in the world right now?” he added. “So much hate, so much anger, so much pain and a lack of justice. Please take care of your families and stay safe.”