The Drug Enforcement Administration has reportedly ordered armored truck companies to cut ties with medical marijuana dispensaries. Since the Obama administration has already warned banks to halt business with dispensaries, the current move deals another harsh blow to state-legal medical marijuana dispensaries, which must operate overwhelmingly on a cash-only basis.
This creates a slew of logistical and operational challenges. Medical marijuana businesses often have large amounts of cash on hand every day from sales and daily expenses, like paying their vendors. Harborside Health Center, the world’s largest medical marijuana dispensary, reports having used armored trucks to transport money twice a day, primarily to pay suppliers as well as the city and state, which take a share of the business’s revenues.
Many dispensaries use armored truck services to transport money safely. Without that option, dispensaries – and their employees – will likely face greater safety risks.
Although a DEA spokeswoman said she could not comment on whether any such directive had been issued, she did emphasize that under federal law “any business associated with criminal activity – such as marijuana – certainly could be subject to prosecution.”
Steve D’Angelo, executive director of Harborside, said that armored car provider Dunbar informed the dispensary that the security company could no longer provide armored truck services to medical marijuana businesses. The local Dunbar branch received the mandate from the company’s corporate offices, saying the move is tied to pressure from the DEA, DeAngelo said he was told. The DEA reportedly also interviewed Dunbar’s drivers about their clients to identify medical marijuana businesses with names that aren’t obviously linked to the cannabis industry.
Dunbar could not immediately be reached for comment.