ONTARIO — A homicide outside a local retailer on March 1 has spurred many conversations, including one by the city about whether to address the matter by enforcing security at similar retailers — specifically recreational marijuana dispensaries.
Though major crimes have happened — even within recent months — at other local businesses, the murder of a man outside Burnt River Farms spurred forth the first discussion among city officials about possibly requiring dispensaries to strengthen security with the addition of guards.
The matter for now has been turned over to the city’s marijuana ad hoc committee, which is set to take up the issue for discussion at its next meeting.
The Argus Observer caught up with Shawn McKay, co-owner of Burnt River, regarding the possibility of strengthening security measures at dispensaries.
“My first thought, is that anytime the city requires us to do something, I’d like to know that the consideration is being made for all businesses, not just the marijuana industry.”
However, he said the conversation of security is still taking place between owners at dispensaries.
“I think it’s a situation we’re still considering and accepting and talking to other store owners in town about what makes the most sense,” he said, adding that there needed to be balance in keeping customers safe and making them feel comfortable, too.
“At the end of the day, it’s a store that’s no different from a gas station or Wal-Mart,” McKay said. “It’s just a high traffic area and things can happen.”
Likely the first of its kind
The fatal stabbing murder that occurred outside of the dispensary is most likely the first of its kind tied to the industry in Oregon.