At least four dispensaries in Chicago and one in downstate Anna were reported vandalized this past week. The Herbal Center, Mission Dispensary and NuMed’s Chicago location were all severely damaged and looted, while Thrive in Anna and Sunnyside in River North were only damaged, say managers.
“We didn’t experience a major loss as the looters were unable to penetrate our vault or gain access to cannabis products,” said Sunnyside/Cresco’s spokesperson Jason Erkes. “All of the inventory in our River North, Elmwood Park and Lakeview Sunnyside stores has been temporarily removed to a state-licensed and secure facility.”
Gorgi Namovski, manager of the Thrive dispensaries in Anna and Harrisburg, says there wasn’t much damage to his store.
“Somebody got a fireman’s ax and went at the building. But not too far. I feel that we’re a secure facility, close to the police station. It’s not like Chicago where police are pulled in different areas. We’re in a rural setting where police have a great response to anything that happens,” said Namovski Wednesday. “We had to repair what they broke and then reopen. We closed just for the one day. We’re open today.”
Mission Dispensary in South Shore was a dramatic scene on Sunday afternoon, as staff received word that looters were active in the neighborhood around noon. The staff began closing up the store almost immediately and were out of the dispensary by 2:00 p.m. Minutes later, security cameras showed a pair of men with baseball bats trying to get in the front door, said 4Front president Kris Krane. “Nobody was hurt. Our staff got out.”
About an hour later, at 3:00 p.m., about, “thirty to forty men with crowbars and baseball bats showed up,” said Krane. “This was a coordinated attack. They had targets. They were going to it, and we were one of them….We counted like 80, 85 swings with the bats. They were able to penetrate [the security door] and get through.”
Looters took, “pretty much anything they could get their hands on,” said Krane, including cannabis product, computers and cash.
Dramatic video from Sunday night on Facebook showed about two dozen people breaking open a metal garage door on The Herbal Care Center’s dispensary building and then entering the building. The Herbal Center did not respond to efforts to reach them.
Reports on social media said Midway Dispensary was looted on Sunday, but managers did not respond to Grown In’s efforts to contact them. The dispensary’s website reports it is closed until further notice.
Krane says it will take about a month for Mission to rebuild their store. “We love our community. We’ll be back.”
“It’s a shame that for some people this will detract from the goals of the protestors. I and the staff of Mission stands with the protestors,” said Krane. “We don’t want this to detract from the very real change the protestors are working towards. We can rebuild the store.”
“Demonstrations are one thing. Destruction of property is another,” said Thrive’s Namoski.