For Maine’s Marijuana Industry, Security’s Still High-Risk

By Penelope Overton
Portland Press Herald, Maine

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Penelope Overton reports, “The lack of traditional banking options puts the cannabis industry at risk, forcing the biggest growers to hire security to move products and financial assets between grow houses, dispensaries and offices.”

Portland Press Herald, Maine

Using crowbars and jackhammers, thieves broke into Dawson and Kelly Julia’s medical cannabis grow in Unity two years ago, forcing their way past a locked steel door and boarded-up window to steal 60 marijuana plants valued at more than $50,000 from this husband-and-wife caregiver business.

In under an hour, East Coast CBD’s entire marijuana crop was gone.

“Up here in Maine, I felt pretty safe, especially considering my mission,” Dawson Julia said. “I mean, I grow a plant that helps sick people, right? But I learned the hard way. Yeah, it’s still Maine, it is safe and it is a great community, but we’re all cash, we grow a valuable plant that can be sold on the black market and to top it off, the law says I can’t even use a firearm to defend myself.”

Since the Valentine’s Day 2016 robbery, the Julias have spent $20,000 to install layers of roll-down steel doors, a camera system and motion-triggered internal and external security systems. Most importantly, they now have two workers living in the building that doubles as both a grow facility and retail shop, providing round-the-clock in-person surveillance.

In his new role as a private security consultant, Scott Durst, a retired Maine drug agent, leaves Wellness Connection in Portland recently to transport the pot dispensary’s earnings from its mostly cash-based business.

The lack of traditional banking options puts the cannabis industry at risk, forcing the biggest growers to hire security to move products and financial assets between grow houses, dispensaries and offices.

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