A woman shopping at a cannabis store in Canada was made famous on Facebook after being caught on cam stealing hundreds of dollars’ worth of tips from the tip jar. Cannabis normally brings about the spirit of giving in most people, however, that’s not the case for petty thieves like the one caught recently.
Mariana Wolff, owner of Cannabis Cottage in Penticton, British Columbia in Canada, is fed up with brazen thieves, including the latest one who went after her budtender’s hard-earned tip money. Wolff caught the act on camera and shared footage of the incident on Facebook on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Castanet News reports that the woman grabbed the jar, stuffed it inside her coat, and held it there. In the video, it appears the store worker is trying to reason with the woman to give it back. As Cannabis Cottage locks up the majority of its inventory at all times—like many other cannabis stores in Canada—it normally isn’t the target of crime since opening in 2019. Comments for the video on YouTube were disabled.
Penticton Valley News reports that Wolff is frustrated with the way budtenders are treated, culminating in this most recent incident. Crimes in recent years have worsened to become more brazen.
“Unfortunately, this isn’t a surprise,” Wolff told Black Press. “It’s been noticeably more prevalent over the last couple of years around town.”
Wolff chose not to report the incident to police with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), but instead posted it on Facebook to let the local community do the rest. That alone should be punishment enough.
“It’s such a petty theft and [the police] already have so many that they already deal with,” Wolff said. “It would just be one more little thing on their plate so it’s easier for me to just top up the tip jar and move on.”
Wolff said her store gave the woman an opportunity to come forth and return the money to save her reputation, but the woman apparently declined. She even offered a Safeway gift card if the woman needed food to eat.
The tip jar was basically the only item that could be stolen, as everything is locked up. “The one thing that could actually be stolen was…it’s frustrating,” she added. “The girl was asked to return it after being caught in the moment and chose not to. That’s what was so irritating.”
Cash-Only Environments Lead to Theft
South of the border, the U.S.’s cash-only cannabis industries often lead to their own form of crime—from coast to coast. But usually thieves are after large amounts of cash and inventory, and usually not the tip jar.
Crime is commonplace for dispensaries in cities like Oakland, California, or at least amid the chaos of the pandemic years. C.R.A.F.T. (Citizens Research Alliance for Therapeutics) Cannabis in Oakland in California was robbed at gunpoint and about $100,000 in product was stolen.
Crime is also a problem on the East Coast. Police have linked a rash of burglaries targeting New England cannabis dispensaries to a trio of suspects in Massachusetts, according to a report from the Portland Press Herald. Law enforcement officers say that a man from New Bedford, Massachusetts and two brothers from Boston are suspected in the string of burglaries of licensed cannabis enterprises going back to 2020.
Budtenders often depend on tip money to make ends meet, so they’re the last person you’d want to steal from.