A 24-year-old man had just walked out of a store on Haight Street in San Francisco when a robber ripped his purchase out of his hands.
But instead of clothing or any other wares, it was another product that the man was carrying: medical marijuana.
People who buy the drug at dispensaries in San Francisco can be prime targets for thieves.
The man robbed Tuesday was exiting Good Fellows marijuana dispensary at 473 Haight St. when the thief stole his marijuana, Northern Police Station Capt. Ann Mannix of the San Francisco Police Department said. The victim lost an ounce of pot worth about $300, and also hash, she said. The suspect, described as a man between 18 and 20 years old, fled on foot and has not been found.
The victim was not injured, but the robbery highlighted an ongoing effort to raise awareness about patient safety at The City’s 23 permitted dispensaries.
Rose Munjar, owner of Emmalyn’s, a medical marijuana clinic on Howard Street, said a patient recently joined her club because he had been robbed at gunpoint at another dispensary. Staffers at Emmalyn’s offer to escort patients and distributors to their cars or to public transit.
In 2008, a 23-year-old man was shot dead during a pot heist outside Mr. Nice Guy, a dispensary at the corner of Valencia Street and Duboce Avenue.
Other items, including cell phones and iPods, are more commonly taken in robberies than medical marijuana, police and club owners said.
A manager at Good Fellows said Tuesday’s heist was the first at the club in six years of doing business.
But police say there is a need for vigilance for patients.
“Criminals are opportunists,” Officer Albie Esparza said.
New rules about where medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to open may increase the problem.
“I wouldn’t say they are necessarily placed in high-crime areas, but more in industrial areas,” said Stephanie Tucker, spokeswoman for The City’s Medical Cannabis Task Force.
Stashing clubs in remote locations might not offer optimum safety for patients, she said.