'A good spot to rob': Cannabis shop targeted by burglars days into Illinois legalization

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CHICAGO — Chicago police are investigating a burglary at MOCA Modern Cannabis, a legal dispensary selling both medicinal and recreational marijuana on the Northwest Side, after someone broke in overnight.

Police say “offenders” possibly used a key card to break through a side door of the cannabis shop on the 2800 block of West Fullerton Avenue in Logan Square before getting away with an undisclosed amount of money.

Customer after cash-carrying customer was turned away at the door Monday.

“I came by MOCA to buy some oil and some flower, but apparently they’re closed,” customer Paul Toledo told WGN.

Some elected officials are calling for changes to banking regulations, saying they make these shops targets.

Because cannabis is still illegal on the federal level, most banks won’t risk doing business with the cannabis industry. So for now weed shops are all-cash.

“Typically what makes cannabis a target for theft is they’re not allowed to process a lot of payments through credit cards. A lot of banks won’t accept them because they feel like it’s a risk, so they’re going to have a lot of cash on them and it’s going to be a good spot to rob for now,” customer Paul Toledo said.

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says the baking regulations must be changed, or we’re likely to see more thefts like the one in Logan Square.

“This illustrates exactly the point we’ve been making for the last two years: that legitimate cannabis businesses ought to have access to the banking system. When these businesses are forced to deal exclusively in cash, it makes them a much greater target for criminal activity,” Frerichs said.

Frerichs says Illinois has done all it can, and banking regulations now have to be changed by Congress. The Safe Banking Act, which would allow cannabis businesses to use banks, was passed in the House but is stalled in the U.S. Senate, despite support from Democrats and Republicans like Missouri’s Roy Blunt.

“If you make it all cash, you highly increase the bad things that can happen.” Sen. Blunt said.

Illinois has seen more than $10 million worth of recreational cannabis sales since the law changed last week.

In a written statement, MOCA's owner said:

“MOCA Dispensary experienced a burglary late last night. Thankfully no one was hurt. No cannabis product was stolen but there was cash taken. We are working with Chicago and IL State police on the matter and investigations are ongoing. We take security extremely seriously and have never experienced an incident like this since we first opened in 2016. We would like to thank everyone who wrote in with support and well wishes.”

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