Sacramento’s Pot Czar Has a Crucial Warning for Marijuana Businesses

Sacramento Chief of Cannabis Policy and Enforcement Joe Devlin has important advice for the city’s marijuana businesses. In light of a string of burglaries, Devlin has urged businesses to vary their schedules and operations, making themselves as “unpredictable” as possible to would-be thieves.

“If you’re transporting cash from point A to point B, deviate your routes,” Devlin said at a meeting at City Hall last week.

He also urged companies to limit information sharing with employees.

“They don’t need to know when deliveries and shipments are coming. They don’t need to know the standard operating procedures for handling cash … The more of that information that's dispersed through your organization, the less safe you are.”

Devlin’s comments came on the heels of two recent Sacramento robberies which may or may not be related. Targeting of dispensaries and other cannabis businesses remains a “major problem,” said Christopher Cohen, who owns a manufacturing and distribution company in Sacramento. He recently lost $80,000 in cash and products to thieves.

The cannabis industry’s cash-heavy nature makes it exceptionally vulnerable to victimization. California lawmakers have pursued a number of ideas aimed at getting banks to work with legal pot businesses but, so far, they’ve proved fruitless. Last month, an independent feasibility study commissioned by state Treasurer John Chiang concluded that a state-run bank would be both impractical and legally treacherous. Legislation that would have created a public bank for cannabis transactions was also rejected by lawmakers last year.