A strange gray area exists for people who run medical-marijuana dispensaries and are victims of crimes within them. As far as the state of Washington is concerned, the dispensaries themselves are illegal, so how can a proprietor of such an establishment who was, say, robbed at gunpoint, seek justice? King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg helped answer that question on Thursday when he announced charges against a man and two teens accused of robbing the GAME Collective Dispensary in West Seattle this past Saturday.
Satterberg, in announcing the charges, also made it known that he thinks the state marijuana laws need to make clear the legitimacy of dispensaries so they can be more properly secured.
"In my view, if cannabis dispensaries are to be permitted, they should operate with strict requirements of security to protect their customers, and outside of residential areas to protect our neighborhoods. "
The alleged robbery went down around 6 p.m. on Saturday. The three are said to have broken into the establishment, tied up the workers inside, then forced open the cash register.
The robbers even went as far as to make everyone hand over their wallets and cell phones.
But afterward, while the three were running away, they found out that the dispensary owners aren't your typical chillaxed pot purveyors. They chased the bandits (apparently after being able to free themselves from their bonds), and along the way one of the robbers dropped a pistol, which was quickly snatched up by a dispensary worker. Bad move. Because soon after, the crook froze when he got his own gun pointed at him, and was forced to stay there until the cops arrived.
The other two were captured shortly after that.
The three charged are 24-year-old Donshae D. Sims, 16-year-old Malik D. Heckard, and an unidentified 15-year-old boy. Sims and Heckard face 14 to 17 years in prison if convicted, and the 15-year-old, being charged as a juvenile, faces three-and-half to four-and-a-half years in juvy.
Props to the dispensary workers. They're like a cross between street drug dealers and pharmacists: badass enough to grab a gun and chase down the fools who robbed them, professional enough not to shoot.