Weed on Wheels Obvious Targets for Robberies

By Jean Elle and Jessica Greene
|  Friday, May 28, 2010  |  Updated 8:15 AM PDT
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With opposition to medical marijuana dispensaries spreading in Bay Area cities, a new business model is taking off: Door-to-door pot deliveries. Now, the obviously dangerous service is getting more attention after a violent incident in the Bay Area.

Richmond police say three men ambushed a delivery man with a pound of pot Wednesday night near the BART station on Cutting Boulevard. The driver who was robbed said he felt the request was credible, so he went ahead with the delivery, even though it was late at night. It turns out, the delivery robbery was a set up. The thieves hit the driver in the face with a gun, stole the pound of pot and $1,000.

Even though there is a level of danger involved, special deliveries for medical marijuana are becoming more common as cities crack down on storefront dispensaries.

Kevin Reed at The Green Cross in San Francisco started delivering when the city shut down his store. He couldn't get a new location approved so he hit the road with his delivery service.

He says in the beginning of his business, a driver was robbed at gunpoint on a delivery so he put strict safety rules in place to protect drivers and patients. The deliveries are made in unmarked cars, payments can only be made with credit or debit and there is extensive checking before a delivery is made.

Reed says his careful selection of clients helps keeps his service safe. Patients who don't want to go through his screening can find plenty of alternatives advertised in the paper. But many of the delivery providers are not licensed so patients don't know what kind of medicine they will get or who may show up at the door.

Police say storefront pot dispensary robberies are not uncommon but the danger of delivering marijuana is obvious. They remind people to use common sense if they plan to hop into the pot-delivery business so they're not left high and dry.

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