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Denver cops are investigating a theft of legal marijuana (under state law, anyway) in a case that might be a first for the Mile-High City.
Chronic Therapy, a legal grow house in Denver, experienced a break-in April 23, when burglars made off with $12,000 in pot plants. Denver's KCNC-TV reports that police have released footage of the suspects caught on the house's security cameras.
With pot now legal in Colorado, will police be investigating more marijuana thefts?
Legal Pot, Illegal Entry
As you likely know by now, Colorado legalized recreational marijuana possession and use in 2012, expanding the rights of businesses who deal in the marijuana industry. With both medical and recreational producers of marijuana able to legally grow cannabis in "grow houses," there may be even more targets for pot burglars.
The video below appears to show two males who allegedly broke into the legal grow house and proceeded to push its plants out of the window -- 25 in all, reports KCNC.
Breaking and entering into a building with intent to commit theft is considered burglary in all states, although the sentencing differs from state to state. In Colorado, it is second degree burglary to break into or unlawfully enter a commercial business with intent to commit a crime. When the intent is to steal a controlled substance that is legally stored there (e.g., pot in a legal grow house), a convict can face anywhere from four to 12 years in prison.
Bottom line, these pot thieves could be facing some serious prison time.
What If Your Pot Is Taken?
In places where possession of marijuana is not legal, stolen pot raises a legal dilemma. Police are likely to arrest those who report possessing illegal substances in the first place, and it may not be possible to actually "own" things defined as illegal contraband.
A Washington man was successful in April 2013 in retrieving his now-legal pot from police after it had been seized when he was arrested. But such results are only possible in states where marijuana possession is legal.
Even legal grow houses in these states have had their marijuana plants seized by federal agencies, so pot growers like Chronic Therapy are lucky to have state support.