Cannabis dispensaries up and down California were looted over the weekend as protests sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police turned violent in cities across the state. A growing list of California retail cannabis shops impacted by looting compiled on social media included more than 30 businesses as of Monday morning, with reports of dispensaries in Chicago and Oregon affected by civil unrest circulating online as well.
Cannabis entrepreneur and rapper Berner, the co-owner of the brand Cookies, posted a video of his reaction to the company’s Los Angeles dispensary location on Melrose Avenue being looted on Saturday night to his Instagram feed. In the post, Berner shrugged off the material loss caused by the looting, choosing to focus instead on the injustice that has so far resulted in six days of protests across the nation.
“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 cannot expect anything less until justice is served,” Berner, whose real name is Gilbert Anthony Milam Jr., said in the video. “We can rebuild our store, but you cannot bring someone back to life.”
“With that being said, we stand with what is going right now in the world. A statement needed to be made. All I say is, I pray everyone stays safe and protects their family in a time like this,” he continued in the video to his 1.3 million Instagram followers. “How can I worry about a store when there is so much more going on in the world right now? So much hate, so much anger, so much pain, and a lack of justice. Please take care of your families and stay safe.”
Berner’s Cookies brand, which encompasses cannabis and clothing, was launched in 2016 after he worked his way through several positions in the Bay Area’s pre-Prop 64 medical marijuana scene. The brand is now available in eight legal cannabis markets and operates eponymous retail locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and Santa Ana, California. The company also maintains cannabis cultivation operations, offering popular strains including Gelato and London Pound Cake.
Dozens of Dispensaries Looted
Cookies is one of more than two dozen cannabis retailers in California that have been affected by the riots and looting that have ravaged cities across the United States. Kevin Ahaesy, the owner of ECO Cannabis in Oakland, said that his dispensary was broken into Friday night by up to 10 people, who made away with thousands of dollars’ worth of product. Although he understands that the city’s police officers were extremely busy over the weekend, he said that he wishes he could have got a better response from law enforcement.
“I think that we pay extremely high taxes and extremely high fees to the city of Oakland,” he said. “I think if they’re going to make us an exception in that respect, then they also have to make us an exception in protecting us.”
Other videos of cannabis dispensaries being looted, including a MedMen store in Los Angeles, have also been posted to social media.