Tulsa Police Frustrated By Poorly Protected Marijuana Growing Facility
TULSA, Oklahoma - Police are warning medical marijuana dispensaries to protect their investments. This comes after a grow operation was broken into overnight without so much as an alarm system installed.
Related Story: 2 Teens Break Into Marijuana Growing Facility In Tulsa
Tulsa Police said the only reason officers responded is because neighbors saw two teenagers breaking into the building and called 911. Fortunately, some medical marijuana businesses are prepared for incidents like this.
Jason Starr with Starr Protective Services said all the products at Central Purp dispensary in Tulsa are behind lock and key.
"It's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it,” he said.
Video cameras, motion detectors, and of course, an armed guard, are just a few of the security measures the dispensary has in place.
"Staff is protected, patients are protected and the building is protected when no one's here,” Starr said.
But these security measures aren't implemented everywhere, which is a huge concern for Tulsa Police.
"You are growing marijuana,” Sergeant Shane Tuell said. “You're going to attract attention from undesirable individuals who don't want to work within the boundaries of the law. You've got to secure that product."
Police said two teenagers broke into a grow operation overnight, leaving marijuana plants literally spilling out of the window.
Tuell said there were next to no security measures to speak of.
"We were contacted by neighbors,” he said. “We weren't contacted by an alarm company."
Frustrated police also had a hard time verifying the marijuana was legal and weren't able to reach the owners of the shop until several hours later, meaning they had to let the teenagers walk free.
"If we cannot find an owner, or someone to say these individuals were not allowed to have any access to this building, no matter what time of day, then we can't charge them with a crime,” Tuell said.
Tuell said the teens could still be charged in the case now that officers have made contact with the owner.
He also said they were able to verify it is a legal grow operation, and the owner plans to move to a more secure facility soon.